Title: Music Educator
Location: North Fort Myers, Florida, United States
Joan Audrey Wendel, retired music educator, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in elementary education.
For Mrs. Wendel, it was a lifelong dream to become a teacher. Her journey to becoming one, however, was a demonstration and lesson in resilience. After attending college for one year, she had to drop out due to financial hardships that her family was facing – her father had lost his job. Instead, Mrs. Wendel entered the insurance field as a secretary, as it did not require a college education. For nearly two decades she worked in this industry, having served as a secretary for A.C. Edwards, Inc., office manager for John V. Potter Insurance and office manager for Pilger Agency. Mrs. Wendel enjoyed the work and she was good at it; however, it was not fulfilling her in the way she still felt teaching would. In 1966, she returned to her studies, achieving a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Dowling College in 1969. From there, she began teaching at Connetquot Central School district of Islip, where she remained for more than 22 years. During her tenure with the school district, Mrs. Wendel earned a Master of Arts from Adelphi University and she was a private music teacher in Bohemia, NY, and Cape Coral, FL, during the summer months. The highlight of Mrs. Wendel’s career was achieving the goals she set for herself as a young girl.
Retired since 2009, Mrs. Wendel impacted her industry through additional prominent roles including music director for the Christ Lutheran Church in Cape Coral, FL, music director for Sounds of Florida, and choir director for the Trinity Lutheran Church. Since 1993, she has been involved with the Southwest Florida Symphony, for which she is a member of the symphony society and its education committee. She was also very instrumental in the Sayville Musical Workshop, which was designed for semi-professional musicians in the region. Further, Mrs. Wendel was vice president of the Fort Myers Music Teachers Association, as well as a grand musician and associate grand marshal for the Order of the Eastern Star. Mrs. Wendel remained at the top of her field through her memberships with the Music Teachers National Association, the Music Educators National Conference and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.
Mrs. Wendel is highly regarded in her field for her expertise teaching fifth and sixth-grade students. According to her, it is a very special time of a students academic development and she feels proud to have impacted so many students during her time as a teacher. Mrs. Wendel is recognized nationally for her work teaching piano and voice, two areas that come directly from her personal passions. In recognition of her professional excellence in her career, Mrs. Wendel was recently the recipient of a Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award. In her retirement, she intends to continue enjoying passion projects with her church while exploring new hobbies.
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