Stundtner proves skills as Midtown’s ‘Staff Member of the Year’

MADISON – Matthew Stundtner waited patiently for his dream job. His co-workers at Midtown Elementary School selected him as 2024 “Staff Member of the Year.”

“This is my 13th year at Madison City Schools. We have the greatest teachers and staff in the country,” Stundtner said. “I’ve worked with so many wonderful people over the years . . . many I consider family.”

He formerly lived in Florida and worked in construction. After high school, he moved to New Smyrna Beach and learned carpentry as a trade.

Stundtner worked for builders who constructed custom homes. “We had a hand in every aspect — from foundation to finish trim work. I learned a little bit of everything,” he said.

In Madison, he first worked as custodian at Heritage Elementary School. “I wanted a plant manager position for many years and finally found an open position and got my chance,” Stundtner said about his first year as Midtown’s Plant Manager.

Stundtner’s decision was correct, considering his win as Midtown’s top staffer in his first year. “It has been a challenge but a welcomed one . . . learning new lighting and HVAC systems. Everything is monitored and controlled by a computer program for maximum energy efficiency,” he said.

“I’m still learning and working out some kinks, but I have a pretty good grasp on how everything works now,” he said. “I love it here at Midtown . . . the administration, teachers and staff are all great. I’d like to thank our Principal, Mrs. Demeester, for hiring me and giving me a chance to show what I can do.”

His work ethic calls him “to stick to the rules. I like to do stuff right. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so, if it’s not right or I don’t like something, I will do it over,” Stundtner said.

Stundtner enjoys working with wood and builds entertainment centers and bookshelves. “I also do handyman type work as a second job – painting, building decks, tile and wood flooring and other work,” he said.

His wife Kristina Stundtner also works at MCS, as a music teacher in her 17th year. Their twin daughters, Sterling and Olivia, are 20 years old. At Jacksonville State University, Sterling performs in Color Guard with the Marching Southerners. At Calhoun Community College, Olivia is majoring in business and wants to open her own business in dog training, boarding and grooming.

While living in Florida, Matthew surfed several days weekly. “I surfed mostly at Ponce Inlet,” he said. “New Smyrna Beach is known as ‘Shark Bite Capital of the World,’ although most bites are accidental from small sharks chasing bait fish.”

Of course, the waters have big sharks, too. “I’ve seen huge bull sharks and hammerheads while surfing. They rarely attack though; they don’t like the taste of humans,” Matthew said. He also has seen manatees, sea turtles and dolphins.

“Surfing with the dolphins might be my favorite thing in the world. They get really close, jump out of the water and sometimes will ride a wave with you,” Matthew said.

Matthew plays guitar. With Kristina’s musical background, they like to perform music together, along with attending concerts and any live-music venue.

The Stundtners love the outdoors . . . being on the water, kayaking, relaxing on the shore.

An avid fisherman, Matthew usually fishes for bass in Alabama. However, he goes saltwater fishing, maybe twice yearly. “If I’m lucky,” he said.

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