By Bethany Campbell, MHS Student Reporter
Mr. Todd Mentzer received the award for Teacher of the Year at Mispillion Elementary School for his outstanding performance as teacher and band director. Although he was nominated by the staff of Mispillion Elementary, he also teaches band to fourth and fifth grade at the other two elementary schools in the district, Lulu M. Ross and Benjamin Banneker Elementaries.
Directly after graduating college, his first teaching position was a middle school general music teacher in Erlanger, Kentucky. This was a surprising decision for Mentzer because he had told himself that he did not want to teach at a middle school level, nor did he want to teach general music.
“Luckily, I was also hired as the high school’s assistant band director, which I took over four years later to become the band director,” said Mentzer.
In this position, Mr. Mentzer was honored as one of Northern Kentucky’s Teachers of the Year in 1998 by the Kentucky Post after being nominated by students and parents. The same year, the city of Erlanger, Kentucky presented him with a key to the city. These honors were the result of a successful competitive marching band season, which saw the band finish second in the state of Kentucky for its division.
In his fourteenth year teaching at Milford School District, Mr. Mentzer has occupied a several different positions. For the first six years, as the MHS band director, he taught band, jazz band, music theory, music appreciation and musical theater, set construction. Since then, he has been the sole band director for the elementary students.
One of his former students, Alex Huey, who is now an MHS senior, reflected on his time with Mentzer duringelementary band.
“Mr. Mentzer taught us the basics of music,” said Huey, a trumpet player and the MHS drum major. “If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be at this place today.”
Honored to receive this award, Mr. Mentzer said, “Teaching in all three elementary schools, I get to see many teachers in action at all three schools and know how many wonderful and deserving teachers there are across the Milford schools. When Mrs. [Susan] Donahue, Mispillion Elementary principal, contacted me about this recognition, I was quite surprised, but also very grateful to all the teachers for nominating me.”
Even after receiving this honor, Mentzer said that the greatest award is “to see how these students who have little knowledge about music and no knowledge of how to play an instrument, can become independent players in such a short amount of time and are excited to learn more.”
Mr. Mentzer graduated from Lebanon Valley College in 1991 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with certification to teach kindergarten through twelfth grade instrumental and vocal music. He is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Wilmington University.