Former track star molds young minds

Caroline Liebel, Staff Reporter

by sarah thornton
Science teacher Ian Lansdowne lectures students during an earth science class.

Ian Lansdowne does it all. He teaches earth science and special education by day, and coaches cross country and track and field by night.

“I originally started teaching just to fulfill a need,” Lansdowne said. “I eventually became accustomed to it and grew to enjoy teaching.”
Lansdowne started his running career at FHS, where he ran track. After graduating in 2001, he attended George Mason University, majoring in psychology with a minor in education, while running for the Patriots.
“I came back to FHS and coach [Quentin] Jones was still coaching, and he asked me to join him,” Lansdowne said.
According to Lansdowne, when he learned of an opportunity to teach at FHS, he knew it was a good place to teach.
“It felt like home,” Lansdowne said.
According to Lansdowne, he coaches because it’s another way to reach students and have a positive impact on them.
“By coaching, I get to have a different view of the students,” Lansdowne said. “I get to have a different relationship with them outside of the classroom.”
According to Jones, Lansdowne brings a lot of experience to the team, with his extensive high school and college running careers.
“He excelled at hurdles, sprinting, and jumping when he was an FHS athlete,” Jones said. “Then he ran at GMU, so he knows how the athletes feel; how hard it is to have everyone counting on you.”
The team had a scrimmage against Woodberry Forest on Dec. 9 where they did really well despite losing many top performing seniors who graduated last spring.
“We lost a lot of seniors and the team is really young,” Lansdowne said. “But there were a lot of impressive performances out of the younger members, and the veterans help them to prepare for what they had to do and excel at the meet.”
According to Lansdowne, a major goal for the team is to develop the younger athletes and defend the district title.
“We want to develop uprising talent,” Lansdowne said. “We want to make some noise when it comes to regionals.”
Not only does Lansdowne enjoy working with the athletes, but he also enjoys working with Jones.
“He is a fun person to be around,” Lansdowne said. “He’s always positive and upbeat and allows me to grow and develop as an assistant coach.”
Senior Sam Donahue enjoys Lansdowne’s fun, encouraging coaching style.
“He’s definitely not a scary coach; he’s really funny and makes everyone laugh,” Donahue said.
According to freshman Liam Holland, a student in Lansdowne’s earth science class, Lansdowne’s easy-going personality makes him not just a teacher, but a friend.
“He’s probably the best teacher ever,” Holland said. “He’s not strict, and he’s more like a friend than a teacher.”
Outside of teaching and coaching, Lansdowne is also an action-hero movie buff. Among his favorites are the X-Men movies, any film based on Marvel Comics, including Captain America.
“I grew up with them,” Lansdowne said. “They’ve gotten a lot cooler since I was younger.”
Lansdowne also enjoys going to the beach, and engaging in outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and walking around D.C. to see the museums.
“I’m inside the school building all day,” Lansdowne said. “I don’t want to be in a building afterwards, that’s one of the things I enjoy about track practices.”