Raj Mundra
May 10, 2023

The adventure continues

Grounded by Andover’s values, Raj Mundra departs for new leadership role
by Allyson Irish

Hanging on the wall in Raj Mundra’s George Washington Hall office is an array of photos printed on large canvases. The images are from PA trips Mundra has taken during the past few decades—to Kenya, India, Bali, and Bhutan. There are beautiful landscapes and sunsets, roaming giraffes and elephants, and children engaged in learning.

These photos provide a visual of Mundra’s life as a PA teacher, coach, academic administrator, and now—beginning this summer—head of school at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. Andover’s interim deputy head of school for academics and student affairs for this past year, Mundra P’18, ’20 is known by colleagues as someone who has always placed value on understanding and celebrating differences while developing community.

“Raj is a true collaborator and a connector,” says Caroline Odden P’26, who succeeded Mundra last summer to become dean of studies. “He thinks at a high level and enjoys exploring how the different parts of our rather complicated Andover program should fit together.”

Mundra began his Andover career as a teaching fellow in 1991. He returned five years later to become an administrator for the International Academic Partnership and a biology instructor. Since then, he has taken on increasingly complex academic and administrative roles, including assistant dean of the Office of Community and Multicultural Development, associate dean of students, and dean of studies.

One of Mundra’s proudest accomplishments at PA has been the creation of Niswarth, a service-learning program in India where students learn about—and with—one another by focusing on humility, empathy, and gratitude. Mundra created Niswarth in 2004 through Andover’s Learning in the World program and led 15 annual trips to India with students.

“I wanted to develop a program where students could approach an unfamiliar community with great humility, understand local needs, collaborate with partners, and enact positive change.

“Niswarth has been such an important part of my journey at Andover.

Niswarth also helped Mundra explore his own bicultural identity in a way he had not done before.

“The program enabled us—and me—to dig into complexity and make connections between disparate ideas and ways of being,” Mundra says. “It was a grounding experience for me to go back into my culture and to contribute.”

Mundra in Mumbai, India with the Niswarth program

As a teacher and mentor, Mundra has worked with Zoe Yu ’23 for the past four years on molecular research and issues of sustainability. Yu first had Mundra for Bio100 in spring 2020, when COVID-19 forced all classes online. Despite pandemic stress and confusion—and the 12-hour time difference between Andover and Yu’s Hong Kong home—Mundra still made time to Zoom with her frequently. And that made an impact.

“Mr. Mundra is so genuine and provides unwavering support,” Yu says. “Even if we hadn’t talked in some time, we would always be able to pick up the conversation. When Mr. Mundra gets excited about a topic, his eyes light up and he gets others excited. I love that about him.”

No story about Mundra would be complete without mention of his Big Blue football experiences alongside Coach Mo (former athletics director Leon Modeste) and English instructor Lou Bernieri P’96, ’10, who says Mundra is “thoughtful, witty, kind, and genuine. Raj was a gifted coach who inspired his players.”

Beyond the W’s (including their undefeated 2013 season), Mundra also gained two close friends in Bernieri and Modeste and some lasting memories, including the 2013 Andover-Exeter matchup, which ended in a dramatic fourth-quarter win on the road, leaving the coaches in tears, hugging one another on the field.

Big Blue Football Coaches: Steve Carter, Leon Modeste, Lou Bernieri, Raj Mundra

With only a few weeks remaining on campus, Mundra looks back on his time at Andover with gratitude and pride. The next phase of his career will take him across the country for yet another new experience. Mundra says he will be guided by Andover’s values.

Non sibi, youth from every quarter, a private school with a public purpose—Lick-Wilmerding shares these common principles,” says Mundra. “I’ve stayed at Andover because these values mean so much to me and my family. Moving on now feels like a natural extension of what I have lived and learned for the past 25 years.”

Categories: Academics, Leadership

Other Stories

Courtesy photo by Jonath Mathew
Let’s Discuss: Making a Documentary at San Quentin

Filmmakers Christine Yoo ’86 and Hella Winston ’86 take viewers behind the scenes of a unique marathon

Kanyi Maqubela ’04
Radical shifts are coming

Kanyi Maqubela ’03 shares five big trends in tech