The Man Behind the Running Shoes and the Lab Goggles

Dr. Jonathan Moody is well known as a dedicated distance runner and science teacher, but there is more him than Ursuline cross country, sophomore chemistry and now Physics II Honors.

      Moody lived with his parents, older brother Judd and younger brother Kurt in the city of Indianapolis until the age of five, and then moved to Michigan. At the age of nine he moved to Texas and has continued to spend the rest of his life in the state.

     For high school, he attended Allen High and was involved in choir, cross country and track. He graduated second in his class of 459 kids and was a National Merit Finalist. His first job was being a lifeguard at the local neighborhood pools.

      As a middle child, Moody looked up to his older brother, Judd, and aspired to be like him. His brother ran in middle school and Moody joined him.

      “I would run with my family every Wednesday in the summer and we would participate in a 5K together,” Moody said.

     His older brother Judd now works at Texas A&M University and his younger brother Kurt lives in Houston working in the restaurant business.

      Even during Moody’s childhood, his interests foreshadowed his future career. He said, “[Science] always interested me and challenged me. Growing up, I liked to think about how things work and the science behind it.”

      While Moody was finishing up his teacher certification program in graduate school, Ursuline reached out and recruited him. He originally thought he would work at a public school while his wife completed her PhD. His wife, Dr. Leslie Moody, is now the senior director of medical and scientific strategy for a medical communications company. Moody has remained a teacher at Ursuline for almost 14 years.

     “As soon as I interviewed here in 2006, I felt a connection to Ursuline. Having been raised Catholic, and growing up in the Diocese of Dallas, I had friends who went to Jesuit, but never knew any Ursuline girls in high school. The traditions and friendliness of everyone in the UA community remind me of my experiences going to Texas A&M University for my undergraduate degree,” he said.

     Moody’s decision to coach track and cross country from the very beginning also contributed to his continuing presence at Ursuline. Nowadays during cross country season, about three times per week Moody will wake up at 4:15 a.m. and go on a short 1-mile jog after arriving at Ursuline before coaching morning practice. Throughout the year, Moody runs an average of 64 miles each week. He is constantly motivated by his family and his determination to stay fit.

     Last year, Moody traveled to Boston for his birthday week and participated in the annual Boston Marathon. It was a notable experience as a runner but also gave he and his wife the opportunity to explore the city, which they had never visited before. To prepare for the 26.2-mile race, he intensified his training and ran up to 30 miles each weekend.

     Moody almost never uses his phone because he is either running, grading tests or spending time with his family. With a busy schedule, it can be difficult to find time to spend with his three kids, Natalie, 11, Caroline, 9 and Nathan, 5.

      “Sometimes I’ll get home when my kids are asleep, and I’ll wake up before they wake up,” he said.

      However, Moody does get to spend most of his time during weekends with them. He enjoys hikes, runs and bike rides with his family and occasionally, video games.

     Moody’s enjoyment of hiking contributes to his choice of clothing during school. Chaperoning the Photography in Arizona trip with photography teacher William Thompson four times has also motivated him to be prepared for anything.

     “I choose to rock button-up plaid shirts – versatile thanks to vented backs and sides, copious pockets and button-up sleeves, nylon and/or convertible pants [also] with copious pockets and wool-blend hiking socks,” Moody said. His father-in-law inspired him to carry the multi-tool attached to his belt.     

     However, as the cross country team knows all too well, the number of running shoes Moody owns is something we may never know about him.

Image courtesy of Dr. Jonathon Moody

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