Jon Detwiler - Retired Faculty & Staff - McDonogh School

Jon Detwiler

It is a popularly held notion that visual arts teachers are among the most colorful collection of characters on any campus. Color is a vital component of their paint-splattered toolboxes, of course, but it is their commitment to creative self-expression that animates them and sets them apart. The man we honor today, Jon Detwiler, is arguably one of the most expressive and animated characters in his department. He rides motorcycles, makes amazing matzah balls, tells perfectly timed jokes, and doodles masterpieces during meetings. He is one of a colorful kind.

Jon arrived at McDonogh in 1988 and immediately immersed himself in the life of the school. He has served McDonogh in multiple ways ever since. He has been an advisor, a team member, an arts teacher, a Department Chair, and a scenic designer for dozens of Upper and Middle School theatre productions. For example, Jon designed and built the scenery for Guys and Dolls, the production which opened the Horn Theatre in 1998.

Jon is always on the lookout for new tools and techniques to remain current in his teaching. He excels in imagining and developing projects that will appeal to his middle schoolers and fully engage them. He has embraced technology and, along with his students, eagerly explores all that the digital world has to offer the art world.

Jon enjoys interdisciplinary work and willingly collaborates with his colleagues across the divisions. He does much of this work behind the scenes and brushes off public recognition. He has created digital maps and apps that enhance the study of English, Social Studies, and World Languages. By using these tools, students have found new ways to grasp and retain important material. 

Mr. D., we are grateful for your 33 years of creativity, imagination, support, and humor. We thank you and your wife, Susan, for the legacy of artwork you leave behind. You have been an inspirational teacher and a much-admired colleague. We heartily agree with one teammate who wrote simply, “Everyone adores Mr. D.” 

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