Candy Zentz's high school guidance counselor told her she would never make it in college, and pursuing vocational training would be her best course for her future.
The counselor was wrong.
Zentz earned a doctorate and recently ended a 39-year career in education with Frederick County Public Schools.
Zentz is the marketing coordinator for the Frederick County Career and Technology Center's Marketing Program.
"My 39 years with FCPS have covered the terms of eight school superintendents, and I have worked with 15 different administrators, and many things have changed in the classes I now teach," Zentz said.
Manual typewriters, Dictaphones and ditto machines are obsolete, and shorthand, typing and office practice are no longer taught in high schools, Zentz said.
"Today, students enter the marketing program technology savvy, and they are eager to find ways to incorporate technology into their marketing projects throughout the year," Zentz said.
Zentz's role as a teacher has also changed over the years, as has the style and tone of her classroom, she said.
"I am no longer the dispenser of information, but I am now a facilitator, helping students to set project goals, and providing resources, suggestions and support for their activities," Zentz said. "Students leave the program taking pride in being able to utilize the same computer-based tools employed by professionals."
The teaching profession has tremendous social value and entails an incredible amount of responsibility, Zentz said.
"Teachers bring their own personalities and life experiences to the classroom. I smile a lot, have fun with my students, and provide life skills they will need to become self-reliant and successful."
Board of Education member Jean Smith is a fan.
"Candy is a prime example of the kind of teacher you want for your child," Smith said.
"Her kids just shine under her guidance, and they have won numerous local, state and national awards." Smith said.
Zentz's leadership beyond the classroom walls sets her apart from other teachers, said Ann Bonitatibus, the school system's associate superintendent for secondary school improvement, instruction and administration.
For more than 20 years, Zentz has held officer or board positions with the Maryland Vocational Association, as well as similar positions on the national level with the American Vocational Association, Bonitatibus said.
"Candy's experiences have been captured in numerous trade publications for teachers and vocational education, (and) her partnerships within the Greater Frederick community are notable and have given her students an edge when competing for internships or jobs," Bonitatibus said.
"The greatest testament to Candy's devotion to the profession is the fact that two of her three children are now teachers with Frederick County Public Schools, and there is no doubt they approach their careers with the same enthusiasm and dedication they learned from their mother."
Paul Frey, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce vice president, said Zentz is the consummate supporter of her students.
"Candy came to the Rotary 4-Way Test speech contests each year to support her students and their families," Frey said.
One of the most rewarding aspects of her work has been helping students to obtain jobs, internships and scholarships, Zentz said.
Having the opportunity to spend time with her new granddaughter, Adeline, is one of the motivating factors for retiring at the end of this school year, Zentz said. She is also looking forward to being able to devote more time to family and friends.
Zentz said the support she has received from parents, administrators, peers, community leaders and members of the Frederick County Board of Education has enabled her to experience the personal satisfaction of spending nearly four decades in a career she has loved.
But Zentz says she isn't done teaching.
"Professionally, I would like to continue teaching at the college level," she said.
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