Mudd’s Departure: My Take


Teacher Brandon Mudd displays his lightsaber in hand with a smile (Nov. 11)

Hanna Grass, Writer

For those who don’t know the AP Government and Politics teacher Brandon Mudd, he is a man of charismatic energy and passion for building long lasting connections with those around him. He is a man full of understanding and flexibility. He is a man who takes the extra moments with students to further their comfortability with the topic they’re learning. He is a man who can turn the knotted governmental structure of our world into something that actually holds my conscious. In simple terms, Mudd is an amazing teacher. He’s been through a lot these past 10 years of teaching, and sadly, he will be stepping away from education in the next few days.

Mudd has decided to take a software development job and further his life in a way separate from the classroom he has called his own within Central. Personally, I am extremely saddened in regards to his departure, but beyond that, I am so happy for him. As a sophomore student who has gotten to know Mudd only on the surface through one trimester of having his class, he truly has made an impact on my life. In those twelve weeks of time with him, I found myself looking forward to walking into his classroom and finally releasing the stress built up from the earlier hours of the day. Mudd’s room has an essence of freedom. Not just in the sense of learning the material at our own pace, but also in the way we converse with our peers and Mudd himself. He doesn’t judge you, he doesn’t slander your opinions or character, which I have unfortunately experienced with other educators, especially when controversial topics like government and politics surface.

In hearing the news that Mudd would be stepping away so soon, and by that I mean before the 2022 school year concluded, I became a little worried as to what would happen in my third trimester of AP Government and Politics. I was scheduled to have Mudd’s class the first and third parts of this year, so to learn that he would not be teaching the curriculum was concerning. I think that most students would agree with me when I say that after spending an hour a day for five days a week with an instructor, you become accustomed to a certain teaching style and the rhythms they convey. With this being an AP class, I have the pressure of the AP exam at the end of the year, and personally, I want to receive the credit that comes with a passing score. I have no doubt that the administrators will work to fill the position using the best of their abilities given the circumstances. However, I do think that Mudd leaving so suddenly will have at least a partial impact on how I go into the final trimester and with it, the preparation for testing.

Switching directions, I want to admit that there is a vast majority of kids within the school who likely know Mudd better than I do. I had him in class, and for the most part, that was the end of our correspondence. That may sound blunt, but it’s the truth of how I got to know him both as a teacher and a person. I know a heaping handful of my peers who spent time with Mudd in his roles as a soccer coach, as a previous sponsor of Y-Club, and an ardent participant in hype videos along with pep rally activities. This year, of course, has been different for him. Many members of the younger classes, including myself, know a version of Mudd who showed a much more dulled involvement than that of years prior. In fact, Mudd told me that I never did get to know the best version of himself, which is extremely disappointing to hear. Discerning his statement was a difficult thing, and it makes me angry knowing that it was partially our school environment and student body that impacted his overall happiness. I wish we [the students] could have done better, not only for him, but for ourselves and the rest of the staff at Central.

I will miss Mudd. I will miss seeing his face and head of brown hair often braided by his students bobbing down the hallway. I will miss listening to him talk to kids about the newest release of an anime series or Marvel movie. I will miss hearing his feedback on my articles published in the newspaper, even if they were about something that didn’t especially interest him. I remember learning that Mudd had read my article on 2021 fall trends in fashion and the simple compliment he gave of it being “well-written.” To you, dear reader, that may seem relatively meaningless, but as a writer who put real thought and effort into each of those sentences, that meager affirmation gave me an essence of pride and accomplishment, something I believe all teachers should try to instill in their students.

I will miss the little stickers students scattered around his room, knowing that Mudd would find joy in their zaniness. I will miss him posing for photos with my friends and I will miss the sight of him unsheathing his lightsaber to both kids and teachers to gaze at in awe. I will miss the conversations clusters of us had with him about the current drama in our lives and the genuine interest he took whilst hearing us out. There are few teachers I have known in my life to do such a thing without the unsaid threat of what they would do in response or who they would tell. There is a mutual and unspoken trust students have with Mudd that just isn’t the same with other educational figures. I will miss that trust.

I will miss discussing Taylor Swift and her array of albums, songs, and releases with Mudd. Not many men in their thirties would call themselves a “swiftie,” and for that I applaud this man in particular for immaculate music taste.

I will miss his Remind messages informing us that he would be streaming on Twitch that afternoon and that we were welcome to hop on and comment about whatever game he was playing. I will miss being able to say that I was watching my AP Gov teacher turn on his Xbox when my mom asked what I was doing. That sounds a little strange and I can’t help but chuckle when saying it out loud. But you have to admit that it is a pretty cool and braggable experience to have.

Mudd came up in the conversations I had with my parents about school in ways that most teachers wouldn’t, and when I learned he was leaving, it was the first thing I said to my mom when she picked me up in the car line that afternoon. Kind of embarrassing, I know. But when my mother asked if anything interesting happened that day, it was Mudd’s departure that took priority over the grade I received on my Algebra test.

When sitting down with Mudd to let him talk about his journey he had with these past 10 years of teaching, I couldn’t help but lend my ears willingly. Hearing him admit that he felt he didn’t have as much of an impact on these past few round of kids he taught it made me wonder…if this is the impact he had on my life as one of his new students, I can’t imagine the influential person he was, say five years ago at a time he described as an era where he played a more immersive part in Central’s domain.

I will miss my teacher Brandon Mudd. We all will, and when I say we, I mean nearly every person to walk the halls of this school. I truly do believe that anyone to meet Mudd or have him in class can say they enjoyed his presence in some way or another. Some may have liked him only because they thought his class was easy. Given his deliverance of work this past year or so in particular, I cannot argue this and won’t deny that it may have influenced my opinions on the man at least slightly. I feel that when writing about Mudd, my honest, yet respectful opinions are deserved, because that is what Mudd gave me.

Today in my English class, I happened to overhear a conversation, of which I do not know the full context or detail, but one comment stood out. It was two boys I personally am not well acquainted with, nor know much about, who were conversing, but I perked up at the sound of one of their voices when he said the simple sentence, “I love Mr. Mudd.” I kid you not, those were his direct words and I am proud to say that I, too, love Mr. Mudd.

So, Mudd, if you’re reading this, I hope you know how much the community of Central loves you. Everyone I know is sad to see you go, but I wish you the best of luck in your new job, in your new environment, and in all of your endeavors moving forward. I believe that whatever roads you choose to embark down in your life, you will find success, and I hope that with all my heart, you can also find happiness along the way. Thank you for being “the cool teacher.” Thank you for listening, supporting, coaching, teaching…but most of all, thank you for being you.

Stay tuned for Claire Prater’s upcoming article looking into Mudd’s personal perspective on saying farewell to Central!