John Stephen Leach, an early childhood education teacher in the Prince George s County Public Schools, died of natural causes at his home in Hyattsville, Maryland on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. He was 47.
The son of Ronald J. and Mary L. Leach, two retired higher education professionals, at the time of his death John had been married to Allison Hundley of Baltimore for over 17 years.
John was born in College Park, Maryland where his parents were graduate students. He attended Mt. Eagle Montessori Children s House in Bryantown, MD, Stevens Forest Elementary School and Oakland Mills Middle School, then graduated from Oakland Mills High School in Columbia in 1984. He was a member of the varsity wrestling and lacrosse teams at Oakland Mills. Following high school John worked in a variety of positions and attended college while pursuing a career in music. Among these positions were several that involved substitute teaching. It was there he found his true career.
John graduated from St. Mary s College 1992 with a baccalaureate degree in Human Development. He also obtained a teaching credential from the (then) College of Notre Dame of Maryland. On completion of his studies he began working as a teacher in various non-profit Head Start and nursery school programs and in the pubic schools in Baltimore City and elsewhere in Maryland.
At the time of his death, John had just completed his seventh year at Paint Branch Elementary School in College Park, Maryland. He began teaching in the Head Start program in 2006. This year he taught first grade. A devoted teacher, he was beloved by his students, their families, his colleagues and friends. At Paint Branch John also taught beginning guitar as a volunteer in an after-school program. He had also enrolled in multiple Spanish courses so he could better understand the families he worked with. As part of his graduate studies, he intended to become certified as a special education teacher.
John enjoyed travel. A highlight of his career at Paint Branch was having been a participant in a Chinese educational exchange program. Under the auspices of that program John was selected as one of several Paint Branch faculty to visit China and tour early childhood programs in Shanghai and Beijing.
In addition to his wife and parents, John is survived by a sister Anne Leach Santos, a brother David Leach, a brother-in-law William Santos, a sister-in-law Ye Fan Leach, a nephew Matthew, and two nieces Olivia and Jacki. He is also survived by his mother-in-law Rita Hundley, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A Memorial Service, with reception to follow, will be held on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10 AM at the St. John s Roman Catholic Congregation, Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia, MD 21044. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to Paint Branch Elementary School, 5101 Pierce Avenue, College Park, MD, 20740.