December 1, 2021
When Christina Dennler got the phone call from Badin High School Principal Brian Pendergest about coming to teach Spanish at Badin, she admitted it wasn’t on her radar screen.
“I told him that the timing of the call was such that I had to go pray about it,” she said in looking back. “I had no intention of ever getting back into education.”
She was a successful realtor, focusing on new home construction. She had taught Spanish for five years in Columbus, then for a year at St. Peter in Chains in Hamilton. And yet, she had begun to wonder ...
“I was missing a lot of family events,” she nodded. “Maybe this was a wake-up call – life is too short to miss so much.”
In fact, Dennler answered the call from Badin. Now in her sixth year of teaching Spanish I & II at BHS, she is the school’s selection for Educator of Excellence in the 19th annual Harry T. Wilks Hamilton Celebrates Education program sponsored by the Hamilton Community Foundation.
“God is good,” Dennler said. “My family thought I was crazy (to give up the lucrative real estate career). But it’s life unfolding through God’s plan.”
“We’re thrilled to have Christina teaching at Badin,” Pendergest said. “She was recommended to us based on her year at St. Peter’s, and obviously it has worked out very well. She brings so much passion and enthusiasm to her classes. She’s a tremendous choice for our Educator of Excellence.”
Badin will receive a $1,000 grant from the Hamilton Community Foundation in Dennler’s name for use in her Spanish classes. The recognition dinner, normally held in October, was postponed until the spring of 2022.
“I’m very humbled and very grateful (for the honor),” Dennler said. “The students are a blessing here, and I get such great support from the faculty and staff. I love that every day presents itself with new life and new challenges. The energy of the students is contagious. It keeps me youthful.”
Dennler, 44, graduated from high school in Lexington, Ky., and has her education degree from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.
“I’ve always immersed myself in different cultures, and I knew that Spanish would be very beneficial to where we live,” she said of her language concentration.
She’s enjoying the fact that the 2021-22 school year has returned to some normalcy, with the opportunity to do some more hands-on activity that was curtailed during the pandemic year. She’s particularly hoping to reinstitute a weekly “conversation buddies” encounter with students in Guatemala.
“For me as a Spanish teacher, it helps bring the culture to life,” she noted. “It becomes more than just what we talk about.”
Dennler still keeps her hand in the real estate business – she and her husband, Aaron, have restored and sold several houses over the years before the pandemic quieted those efforts. She enjoys spending time with family – she is the guardian to a trio of nieces and nephews – and is a runner, now training for a half-marathon.
And while she was surprised by the call from Brian Pendergest, she’s glad it happened.
“Every day is a blessing,” Dennler said. “The relations with the students are special. At Badin, we’re able to live out our faith and share that with the students.”
And, of course, do a terrific job teaching them Spanish along the way.
Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, Dallen@BadinHS.org or (513) 869-4490