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UC Graduate Pays Special Tribute to a Former Teacher at Commencement

Gayley Hautzenroeder of Montgomery, an orchestra teacher for the Northwest School District, will receive UC’s Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award at the Dec. 9 Commencement Ceremony.

Date: 11/27/2006 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover

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Leah Elaine Gindele and Gayley Hautzenroeder

Leah Elaine Gindele of Colerain Township is graduating from UC this December with her bachelor’s degree in communication, but it’s the warmth and support of one of her former middle- and high-school teachers that will be pulling at her heartstrings on graduation day. Gindele will present Gayley Hautzenroeder, a UC alumna and orchestra teacher for Pleasant Run Middle School and Northwest High School, with the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award at UC’s Commencement Ceremony, coming up at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, at Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center. Hautzenroeder will be presented with a $1,000 UC scholarship to present to a high-school senior who plans to enter UC in the 2007-2008 academic year.

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.

Leah Gindele
Leah Gindele

Gindele says ever since she was in kindergarten, she had asked her parents if she could play the violin. “Mrs. H.,” as she calls Hautzenroeder, was her teacher from sixth through twelfth grade. “It wasn’t just a job to her,” Gindele says of her former teacher. “She genuinely put her heart and soul into everything that she did. She was very warm and loving.”

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.”

Gayley Hautzenroeder
Gayley Hautzenroeder

“Not many people in this world get to do what is their passion, and I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to do this for 35 years,” Hautzenroeder says. She says a great teacher loves the subject she or he teaches, plans a great deal, spends extra time working with and for students, and loves working with young people. “It’s having a passion and sharing it – I think that’s what my students pick up the most.”

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.

Read more about the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award

UC Commencement Web site

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