Describing her family as having ''a lot of Howland blood,'' teacher Nancy Moore decided that it was time to hang up her teaching credentials and pursue other goals as she prepares for retirement after 35 years of teaching music.
''I taught first-grade general music, fourth to 12th-grade band, sixth, seventh and eighth-grade general music and sixth, seventh and eighth-grade choir," Moore said. ''I know where they keep the mops, and I'm not afraid to use them.''
After graduating from Ohio University in Athens, Moore began her teaching career by using music as therapy to help ease the pain of patients going through chemotherapy. At that time, Moore said, most undergraduates worked with people in mental institutions or tuberculosis clinics, and potential teachers didn't get into public schools to student teach until their final year.
Howland Community News / Bob Coupland
Howland teacher Nancy Moore, far right, is retiring this year after 35 years, 32 of which were spent in Howland, teaching students the gift of music. Moore recently hosted a concert by one of her former students, Thomas Solich, seated, whom she described as ‘‘having the best ear of anyone I’ve ever met.’’
''When I did get into public school, it lit a fire inside me,'' Moore said. ''Students were like sponges, and I loved it.''
It was the students, Moore admits, that made it difficult for her to make the decision to retire. One example she remembered was the compassion her students showed after the death of her father in 1997.
While taking time off work to take care of her father, who was suffering with cancer, Moore said she missed her students and worried about them. But upon her return, her students showered her with ''lots of hugs and little notes.''
''It was incredible how much they cared,'' she said. ''They knew I cared about them, and they cared right back.''
Moore credits her success with always believing in teaching the kids first and teaching music second.
One particular student that stands out for her is Thomas Solich, now a graduate of Baldwin Wallace College and owner of Solich Pianos and Music Company in Boardman. Solich, who is blind, is extremely sensitive to music, Moore said. On his first day in her class, Moore put masking tape on his chair so he would be able to find his seat by feeling the tape.
''Your chair's right here, fourth from the aisle,'' she told him. ''The tape is on the yellow chair.'' Moore remembered Solich joking and telling her he would remember it is the yellow chair.''
Moore described Solich's ear as being so acute that after he described the chimes on her van door as F-sharp and G-sharp, she immediately ran to the piano to see if he was correct, and he was.
Moore will be celebrating her 36th wedding anniversary with her husband, Dennis, on June 10. They have two children, son Christopher, who is a band director at a a high school in Cincinnati, and daughter Alexis, who is preparing to attend veterinary school.
''I plan to take it easy for a couple weeks,'' she said.
Moore will continue to teach Bible school music at the Howland First United Methodist Church, as well as continue with her clarinet teaching.
''God will have something planned for me and will keep me busy,'' she said.