Meet Topher Dunne!

Meet Topher Dunne!
Danny Stock

As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Topher Dunne!

Read the Q&A below to learn more about Topher.

  • Primary Role: High School history and social science teacher.
  • Pronouns: He/Him
  • Years at GDS: 26 years down and halfway through year 27 as a full-time teacher. Prior to that, Topher began as a substitute teacher in 1990 (“Rosh Hashanah 5750”). 

What do you love about GDS?
Student curiosity! I love the strong sense of inquiry from most of the community across a range of intellectual and social issues.

Why do you teach/do your job?
I teach to see the excitement of someone making connections and learning; and to continue to learn—broadly—as I do it.

Topher—pre-pandemic—teaching High School history. Photo credit: Jason Putsché

A favorite lesson to teach or favorite part of your job?
Teaching the story of DC as part of 9th-grade history the past few years. There's lots of monumental stuff in our neighborhoods that teaches a variety of lessons, and getting out into the community is a great applied learning opportunity.

Your teaching or work style in three words?
Inquiry. Engagement. Expression.

Other GDS activities or roles that community members may not know about?
Teaching the Policy Institute Living Wage Track for the past seven summers, faculty advisor for the Adoptee Affinity group, and various performing arts support and involvement, including One Acts, Christmas Peace Assemblies, Jazz Concerts, and more!

Topher joined students in the 2021 Winter One Acts virtual production of "Zombies." 

A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
Stay curious and engaged.

Personal passions/hobbies/pastimes?
Music, vintage clothing (and dishware), Javanese shadow puppetry (wayang kulit)

Favorite book?
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino—so many small and masterful scenes in one enigmatic book.

Topher sends a "Happy Pride!" video message to the community. 

Tell us a story about your pets.
The various cats who have lived in my house over the years have always been good about knowing when I arrive, even when I am coming home late. They have a window lookout.

One thing about yourself your students/colleagues/others probably don't know?
I was part of the United Autoworkers Union for two summers during college (Local 1635).

One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
Play an all-night shadow puppet show.

One thing on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
I do not own a VW bus…yet.

This photo is from (maybe) 2007 and was taken by my daughter while she was in elementary school. My coffee is in a mug that belonged to my grandfather.


With a tip from Topher, we reached out to hear what a colleague had to say...
Director of Theater Tech Christal Boyd said, “Topher is multi-talented, generous, and always ready to fill a need, be it videography or playing bass in the orchestra. We are always learning about new skills and talents that he’s willing to share with us. I’m very happy to have him as an unofficial member of the Performing Arts Department.”




Meet Topher Dunne!
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