Earlier in the fall, UC President Nancy L. Zimpher invited UC students from around the Cincinnati USA region who were close to graduating to nominate a former teacher from preschool through 12th grades who nurtured their interest in education and inspired them to achieve a college degree. The honorees were selected from 21 nominations.
Hautzenroeder, a teacher for 35 years, graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s prestigious College-Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s degree in music education with a cello concentration. Currently teaching grades 7-12, she has taught music from kindergarten-age to college-level students, spending 19 years in the Northwest School District, 16 years in the Forest Hills School District and formerly teaching a string methods course at Xavier University.
“I started out majoring in music performance, but a friend of mine said, ‘You can always perform with a teaching degree, but you can’t teach with just a performance degree.’ I knew how hard it was to become a professional cellist, so I thought this was a way to sustain myself.
“Yes, sometimes I still miss the orchestra, but I love teaching in the classroom and working with the students. It has been a joy,” Hautzenroeder says.
Gindele still attends school concerts under the direction of “Mrs. H.” The younger sister of Gindele’s fiancé Dan Strunk, Sheena Baker, is now a Northwest Orchestra student. When asked what makes a great teacher, Gindele says it’s someone “who can convey classroom knowledge with life experience in a very warm and honest manner – someone who can identify with their students but still be the authority. Someone who makes you laugh.”
In addition to the honors at the December Commencement Ceremony, Leah Gindele and “Mrs. H.” will attend a special brunch hosted by UC President Nancy L. Zimpher prior to the ceremony. The brunch takes place at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, at the UC Faculty Club.