Educator Of The Month: Tim Dunbar

Severna Park High School


For Tim Dunbar, a teacher at Severna Park High School (SPHS) for the past four decades, connection is a central theme for his career. A key member of the social studies department and head coach of the school’s girls volleyball squad, Dunbar has taught multiple generations of families and coached a few mother-daughter duos.

“It can be humbling knowing that I have taught both parents and every child in a family,” Dunbar said. “That’s a big responsibility knowing I may have had an impact on an entire family tree.”

The Regala family is one such example of Dunbar’s impact on multiple generations. Pete and Jennifer Regala, now married, both had Dunbar as a teacher. Two of their sons have also been instructed by Dunbar.

“Mr. Dunbar was the type of teacher you showed up for, just like he showed up for us,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer noted Dunbar’s international studies class and the teacher’s passion for the topic.

“I remember wanting to be prepared and ready to debate or present in that class,” Jennifer said.

During his 40-year tenure, Dunbar has taught a multitude of courses such as U.S. and European history, government, geography and street law.

“My boys always say Mr. Dunbar is the GOAT,” Jennifer said. “But, really, how cool is that he stuck around all these years and made an impact on my life and Pete’s but then also our boys’ lives?”

Their oldest son, Peter, had Dunbar in 2020 during the virtual classroom environment that occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. There was no in-person graduation or prom that year.

“Mr. Dunbar was a ray of sunshine during that dark time,” Jennifer said.

Then, as virtual school continued, the Regala family had another son, David — or “D.A.” — who ended up with Dunbar as a teacher. Jennifer admits to sitting outside her son’s door to regularly listen to the longtime educator.

“He spoke to them all individually, made them feel valued, got them laughing, plus taught them something,” she said.

Sarah Poole serves as the social studies department chair at SPHS and feels lucky to teach next door to Dunbar where she can observe the way he uses humor and knowledge to build teacher-student relationships.

“These relationships drive our enrollment in AP economics and AP human geography, as many students sign up for the courses specifically to have Mr. Dunbar as a teacher,” Poole said.

Dunbar double majored in geography and physical education at California State University, Chico. He later pursued advanced education studies at John Hopkins University.

According to Dunbar, geography is all about understanding the world and the people in it.

“If people don’t understand the world around them, they won’t be informed enough to make it a better place,” Dunbar said. “You can make those applications to just about any social studies subject as well.”

Making a connection with students, getting them to be passionate about learning and helping them find their voice are important to Dunbar.

“If your students know that you care about them, they tend to respond in a positive way, grow as people and learn far more than they think they are learning,” Dunbar said. “If you ask a few questions, learn about your students and show interest in the things that interest them, it’s easier to reach them.”

Since his beginning in 1983, Dunbar has worked for seven principals and five athletic directors.

Lindsay Abruzzo, principal at SPHS, noted that Dunbar is a fixture at the school and an asset to SPHS.

“From the volleyball court to the classroom, students enjoy having Mr. Dunbar teach them something new,” Abruzzo said.

For Dunbar, this fall will be his 37th year as a head coach of volleyball, including three junior varsity and 24 varsity seasons at SPHS, plus nine seasons for his daughter’s team at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore.

“You change the world, even a small corner of it, one person at a time,” Dunbar said.


Cafe Mezzanotte is a proud sponsor of Educator of the Month. To nominate a teacher, guidance counselor, principal or other educator, email




No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here