Teacher Testimonials

Student Testimonials

Role Models Textbook Testimonials

The curriculum is great! We are in our 4th week of class, and it is by far the most enjoyable class I’ve taught in my 6 years of teaching. The kids are loving it too!

Colby SwansonArcadia High School (WI)

Schools are so focused today on standardized testing that the development of the entire person gets lost in the shuffle. We are falling short as a society not because of what we know or don’t know, but rather in our actions and behaviors. This material is helping us as educators to do our job correctly by setting the foundation for who they will be as people – husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, employees, and so on.  The impact of this curriculum on our student body has been priceless and is helping them to make today count.

Ethan MillerCentral Springs High School (AR)

Things are going great. The students are responding very well to the program and it has actually made me take a look at myself in the areas. It’s nice to have a program that the students know each day of the week what will be happening. Thank you again.

Rhonda DrummNorth Adams Jerome High School (MI)

Teenage years are a time of intense change and students really don’t yet know who they are as young adults. Exploring the curriculum topics allows our students to discover what is truly important to them as well as helps them to identify where they want to grow and challenge themselves.

Diana PenningSpring Hill High School(SC)

This has been an amazing experience. This is year 15 for me teaching Leadership at this school. This is the first time I have felt good about what I taught. I am sharing your information at my State Teacher’s Conference this summer so you may get some more orders.

Robyn ShermanRockbridge High School (VA)

We are presently finishing the 2nd quarter here at Gansett.  Based on our success, we have decided to offer the class to every 8th grade student. I just finished, literally, grading the final exam for this particular class. All of the responses to the third essay question are very positive in nature. Some were life changing experiences! Truly an appropriate testimonial to the curriculum you developed for this course.

John BearyNarragansett Middle School (MA)

Our writing scores continue to rise, in large part because of your program.

Pete Gleason, Principal Bendle Middle School (MI)

I have been an educator for 30 years and I can honestly say this year teaching with your curriculum has been my favorite. I teach 2 sections of Leadership (wish it was more) and feel that in one year we have made a difference in the culture of our school. My principal told me she could see the difference it has made in our school. Kids are more polite, respectful, and quick to offer of help when they see someone in need. It is being noticed by our administration and my fellow teachers. One student who was struggling at the beginning of the year came to me on the last day of school and said, “I just want to let you know that your class changed me. I am a different person…thank you.”

I want to thank you so much for this curriculum and I am looking forward to even bigger and better experiences next year.

Kelly MarsalnRectorJohnson Middle School (OK)

I have used this curriculum for the past 2 years and it has been very rewarding to watch my students grow in their decision-making skills and leadership roles. They hold each other accountable and have learned to care about the little things that make leaders effective: firm hand shakes, looking others in the eyes, being attentive listeners, and accepting responsibility for their actions. This curriculum not only teaches leadership and character traits, but life skills that will benefit them long after high school.

Krysten ParsonBethany Christian Schools (IN)

I am an Agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor in Washington State and created a new class, Ag Leadership and Communication, six years ago as a way to teach leadership skills to my upper division agriculture students and FFA officers. I struggled for several years with developing the curriculum for the class that allowed for flexibility, adequately hit all of the key leadership standards, and kept the kids engaged throughout the semester. I found the Character Development and Leadership curriculum three years ago and it has become the backbone of the leadership component of the class. I love this curriculum because it is up-to-date, students relate to it, and it is easy for me to flexibly implement it into my curriculum. I knew that when I ordered the curriculum that the kids would love the video portion of the curriculum, but what surprised me most was how much they enjoyed the textbook. I would recommend this curriculum to anyone looking for an outstanding leadership curriculum.

Tony KernMoses Lake High School (WA)

We have implemented this curriculum in phases at our High School and have seen a 25% reduction in referrals. We currently are utilizing the curriculum as a school wide approach 2-3 days per week and It has really helped in our climate, culture, and relationships between staff and students.

Larry MaynardHoopeston Area High School (IL)

This curriculum is very engaging! Our students love it! We use it as a freshman only stand-alone course! The demographics of our district and community pose unique challenges to our students and teachers. Divorce, poverty, and fragmented families are the majority. Therefore at Fort Madison, we feel that the Character and Leadership curriculum is the foundation for future traditional academic growth. As the Head football coach, I reference this with our players on a daily basis!

Todd McGughyFort Madison High School (IA)

At FMHS, we believe that all learning comes from our ability to build relationships with our students. This curriculum teaches students the fundamental qualities of human interaction. If we do nothing else at our high school, our goal is to graduate good people who will make a positive impact on their environment in the future. This wonderful curriculum is a big part of that process, allowing us to begin this “education” with our youngest members as they enter our building.

Greg SmithPrincipal, Fort Madison High School (IA)

We find that the Character and Leadership curriculum works well for transitioning students from middle school to high school. It opens dialog between students and their new teachers and faculty, as well as, community members who serve as guest speakers. Conversations that usually wouldn’t happen in traditional classroom environments lead to students making better connections with the people and resources available to them. This is our first year using the material and we already can see differences in our freshmen students.

Graig StoneHoricon High School (WI)

A training & development resource that fully engages high school students because it is fun, interesting and applicable to their lives. The curriculum, which focuses on leadership and character development, is directly related to the areas of qualitative development that are essential for the young adult growth process. I would highly recommend this resource to anyone working with young adults (teachers, coaches, counselors, etc.).

Greg PappasFordham University Step (NY)

I am in my third year using Dr. Hoedel’s curriculum and could not be happier. The information provided allows for great conversation among our students and the role models open their eyes to what it takes to be a great leader.

Mike FoleyMontverde Academy (FL)

My associate and I have been team teaching a Leadership class for a couple of years. We felt our curriculum was great until we attended one of your conferences. Thirty minutes into the conference, we both realized the curriculum you were offering was high quality and immediately approached our director for approval.

We only meet with our Leadership class one time per week for an hour. We were able to format the curriculum in a way in which we spend four weeks on each character trait and are easily able to touch on all aspects of the program. Thanks again for putting together and offering this great set of materials that is invaluable for “all” young people. We feel that it should be mandatory for all high school students to attend a class such as this as a requirement for graduation.

Mark RakelaChoices Charter School (CA)

The staff of our continuation school was concerned about the poor decision making skills, as well as a low standard of morality on the part of our students. In addition, the English teachers felt that reading selections in the adopted literature textbook were not engaging our students. Dr. Hoedel’s Character and Leadership curriculum has helped us address both of these issues. The character topics and role models are now part of our daily conversations on campus, both inside and out of the classroom. The topics are refreshing, relevant and interesting for students and staff. This was a great fit for us!

Kathy DichiricoConejo Valley High School (CA)

As District Manager of the Professional Opportunities Program for Students, Inc., I am most proud of the investment into the Character Development and Leadership curriculum. The structure of the session allows for more open communication with my students. This viable tool is a win-win for any youth program.

Joyce BentleyProfessional Opportunities Program for Students (FL)

I have been teaching your Character & Leadership Education curriculum for the past 6 years. This is my favorite class to teach. I am excited every day to come to this class, and hear what the students have to say about the subjects we cover. Each trimester the students in these classes form a unique bond that we just don’t see happen in other classes. Students love coming to class and at the end of the trimester and are so sad to leave. As a teacher, that is the most rewarding feeling we can experience. Thank you.

Rachael CannonSouthgate Anderson High School (MI)

Thank you so much for creating this curriculum. I am so excited about all the changes that are happening here because of it! The leadership curriculum has been such a powerful and impacting tool to helping young people learn how to deal with situations and dilemmas they face in everyday life. Again, thank you.

Becca LandersTexas Leadership Charter Academy, San Angelo, TX

Your class was a hit for our school last year, I got a lot of positive feedback from the one semester that I taught Character Development, and Leadership. This coming year I will be teaching two semester classes due to the popularity of the class.

Mike MillsPrincipal, Imbler Schools (OR)

FYI, this class is what I was born to teach, but I am normally the art teacher. My students love the class, they love it when I talk real life with them, and you’ll notice from my survey results that it is needed. I am so proud that our freshman are required to have this class to graduate and it has made them leaders for the next classes under them and for future generations to come. Thanks for passing on such a great curriculum for a guy like me to teach, it makes my day teaching life-long lessons, and makes my career worth it!

Klay HoppenworthClarksville Community School District (IA)

I’ve been an administrator for 12 years, and never experienced anything like this.

It appears there was an altercation between two of our students that no one else witnessed. The next class period, one of the students self-reported himself to a teacher. They were both 9th graders and have been learning about the Character & Leadership traits in Global Perspectives. The student said he didn’t feel he was displaying good character if he didn’t turn himself in and he didn’t want that weighing on his mind. When I talked to him, he told me what he did, apologized, and created his own punishment. When I went to get the other student involved, I was basically met with the exact same thing. Before I had a chance to say anything to both students, they had apologized to each other, discussed how stupid their actions were, promised to never do anything like this again, and told me they understood they had to face consequences.

The reason I share this with everyone, is because they both talked about how the Character & Leadership curriculum has made them really think about who they are and how important it is to have good character.

Jeff Johnson, PrincipalMountain Home High School (ID)

Your curriculum is amazing. I had many of these 8th grade students in my 7th grade leadership class. The level of participation has greatly increased. But what I find to be the strength of the curriculum is the ability to discuss important yet difficult topics. We as a class have a foundation to approach these issues.

Peter JosephTotem Middle School (WA)

Things are going great. We offered this class last spring with great results. However, the current section we are running has been excellent. I have 20 more students lined up to take the course starting next week. The curriculum has been stimulating. I am very happy with the results, just wish we could get more students in the class.

Steve NugentNorth Handover High School (MA)

I have been using the Character Development & Leadership curriculum for 6 years now and it is an excellent supplement to my daily teaching. Students relate to the videos as they relate to real life. The curriculum is not like a text book that can get outdated. Character and all the words that are presented in the curriculum such as loyalty, respect, trust, empathy, perseverance, courage, and compassion will always be skills students need to be successful in life. It also teaches important skills students will always need such as a proper handshake, study skills, anger management, and resume writing just to name a few. I see tremendous personal growth in my students. Thank you Dr. Hoedel for creating a curriculum that will build character to any student.

Becky BrewerChoctawhatchee High School (FL)

I wanted to extend my sincerest gratitude to you both and thank you for this curriculum. As I watched each of the 15 seniors in my class grow and change throughout the year, and as I saw them individually become role models to the underclassmen, I was amazed by each of them and how they were applying the character traits they had learned about into their lives. Watching them change from their “typical” behavior when reacting to a problem or situation and then seeing their positive changes, has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my teaching career thus far.

Nicole KossowskyThe Hallen School (New York City)

I am enjoying teaching this class more than any of my 22 years in the physical education field. I get excited about each and every day in trying to make a difference in the lives of these students. This class is now mandatory for all of our freshman students @ Chapin High School. This class is making a difference in our school. I cannot say enough about this class. It has given me a renewed vigor for teaching and an endless supply of enthusiasm

Mike HillTeacher, Chapin High School (SC)

I wanted to inform you that our inaugural Leadership course at Christian Brother?s College High School has been an unbelievable success. The students thoroughly enjoyed the unique experience offered by the course. We used your curriculum (with subtle adjustments to customize it specifically to our students) as a stand-alone semester course in a block schedule. The course included 22 hand-picked Junior students. I have attached two Word documents that I believe best summarize the experience of the course for both our students and me.

Tim SeymourChristian Brothers College High School (MO)

I was excited to teach this course because I knew that it had the potential to have a long-term effect on our students. What I found out at the end of the first group I had was that I did more learning than teaching. I saw improvement in the lives of the students in the course. I even had parents telling me that they began to see a difference in their child?s life. At the end of most of the papers, the students would say how much they appreciate the class and to know that there is someone out there who cares and loves them. I believe the students are now better equipped to handle some of their personal issues and are better people for taking this class.

Daniel A. SpencerTalladega High School (AL)

I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that our Leadership class is going great! The students are really enjoying the class. Thank you for creating this wonderful class.

Will StoneAscension Christian High School (LA)

The students are really taking a lot of the information from class and applying it to their daily lives. On almost a day-to-day basis I have students coming up to me bragging about thinking twice about something or not doing something that would go against their new character. It has made a huge impact on the seniors and, in addition, the school itself.

Lee TurkowskiPatterson Charter High School (NJ)

Our 1st semester students formed such a close bond over the first 18 weeks that we decided to continue on into the 2nd semester with a focus on taking what we learned into our community. It has been an amazing experience! Thanks for your curriculum and support.

Jared TurnerYorktown High School (IN)

I would really like to thank you for your help in getting the curriculum sent over to me this Fall, I believe it in fact saved my life. I can honestly say that it works; the kids found it interesting, inspiring and impacted them in ways that will not be seen just in the classroom. As a teacher I found the resources very teacher-friendly and was very impressed with how laid out every week was and how all the weekly activities fit seamlessly together.

Mark NelsonHighview Alternative (MN)

I hope all is going well. I enjoyed teaching the class. I believe it has made a difference in alll students. Some more than others, but I believe it has affected all students. One student turned a complete 180 and is starting to pass her classes.

David W. BeauchampOscoda High School (MI)

I just wanted to write a few lines to tell you how much I enjoyed teaching your curriculum to my Personal & Social Responsibility classes. There was so much material that I wasn’t able to use it all. I think Character and Leadership is an excellent course that should be given to all 9th graders. I recommend this curriculum highly, and would be willing to share our successes with others.

Barbara MichaelsenExpo High School (MI)

Dr. Hoedel has begun to address one of the most serious problems of our time — The American male is failing miserably in their traditional and crucial role as family members and responsible members of society. Because of this problem that debilitates our families, our work force, and our schools; we are dealing with a generation of males raised by women. If we do not stop accepting this problem as a natural fact of life, we are doomed to live in a society of males that feel no responsibility for anything.

Dr. Michael AllredPrincipal, Thomasville High School

The Character Development and Leadership Curriculum is phenomenal. The program is beneficial because the material ties into what the kids are going thru – from their community to the classroom. I have to say my favorite component is the weekly ethical dilemmas. The dilemmas allow the kids to dig deep and really think about making the right decisions. The fact that each kid must stand up and present to the class, builds confidence. Being a new employee and fresh out of College, I feel very lucky to be able to use this material.

Joe EdwardsCatawba County Teen Up Program

It’s wonderful to see students in an atmosphere that teaches them to think critically. Many students measure their success by being able to pass a test. This curriculum not only benefits students academically but it is a blueprint to help them to become better people. It is learning process for me as well as my students.

Dwain WaddellHigh Point Central High School

Teaching this class is exactly why I went into this profession. I can actually see the students begin to consider their own character and what leadership potentials hide behind the teenage facade they put up each day. And we’re only at the end of the first marking period! Watching students grow as people and seeing various educational skills (public speaking, writing, critical thinking, organizing, reading) develop as well is a dream come true for any teacher.

Terese EwingSouth Central High School

This is exactly what adolescents need to be reading in school. This book raises the bar for our youth, inspiring them to reach their full potential. We all need role models and this book provides 17 outstanding people to look up to and emulate.

Harold SmithPrincipal, Parkland High School

Dr. Hoedel has identified some true role models for all of us and places the definition of role model and leader in wonderful perspective. This book enlightens and challenges the reader like few books can. This is a fantastic book for anyone and everyone ~ students, teachers, administrators and parents alike.

Charlie AbourjilieNC’s Character Education Coordinator

Dr. Hoedel has provided a tremendous service to those of us who believe character education has an important place in the public school. His book describes a series of individuals, both historical and modern, whose actions personify one of eighteen positive character traits he deems important for today’s society. He has chosen well. Students will quickly relate to Dr. Hoedel’s choice of individuals, and will easily see the connections to their own lives. In a society that seems to offer so few positive examples for today’s student, this book will serve as a much needed guide as to why it is important to do the right thing. I plan to make this book required reading for the students in my high school Ethics and Leadership classes.

Dr. Bill ReidTeacher, West Johnston High School

When I began reading the new textbook to my students, I did not know what to expect. I looked around my class and noticed all eyes on me, with several of those eyes welling up with tears. In these chaotic times, students need to connect with someone positive. This new book allows students to connect with role models from the past and present, helping them to understand the difference between right and wrong.

Beth McDonoughTeacher, Smithfield Selma High School

Dr. Hoedel has discovered a unique way to relate to todays’ students. Connecting role models with key character traits, along with a brief biography, is a very effective way to reach today’s youth. Sports, military, and human interest stories are included with lessons that will keep students reading this book, and learning.

Buddy PoppsTeacher, Harper Creek High School

Dr. Hoedel has done an exceptional job of presenting a wide array of role models for students. His biographies include 17 contemporary heroes and heroines paired with 17 character traits. He illuminates each biography and does a great job of weaving their life stories into life lessons! Teachers will love his built-in quizzes that accompany each chapter!

Margo MeansTeacher, Pender Learning Center

With this book Joe Hoedel continues his mission to reinvigorate character in today’s youth. This is an excellent follow up to his Character Education and Leadership course. An interesting read that captures the essence of Character with role models our youth can identify with and emulate.

Commander Bill SchreiberTeacher, Newton-Conver High School

My name is Janelle Odinga and I am a secondary education major at Michigan State University. I first became familiar with your program while volunteering at an alternative high school in Lansing last year. Since then, I’ve done a lot of reading about it and I am amazed. I just wanted to drop you a quick line and let you know how excited I am to share this program with other people. Thank you for addressing some of the most critical issues that are facing young students today. I can’t wait to have this in my own classroom.

Janelle Odinga

The class went very well— it ended up only being a 9 week class– the kids enjoyed the lessons and particularly enjoyed the readings— which was very surprising to me!! The curriculum is great!!!

Jonathan SiddenNorth Forsyth High School

I had to write to tell you how wonderful and beneficial I feel your program is for students but also for me to teach. I am the choral music teacher at Starmount and teach 78 students everyday in 3 different classes. When I first looked at your material and read the content I was overwhelmed with how important it is for students to hear this subject matter. I love teaching music and teaching teenagers but I have loved teaching your Character & Leadership class. This is the best of both worlds I could give them. Thank you for your hard work and providing an excellent avenue for young people to learn life lessons.

Brenda HollyfieldChoral Director, Starmount HS

Things are going well with the character and leadership curriculum. It was taught to a group for a semester, and now the teacher is working through the first five or six chapters for the second time. We will continue the curriculum next year and the next. You?ve created a good product, Dr. Hoedel, and I wish you the best in your continued marketing of it.

Mike SiebersmaPrincipal, Clayton Ridge Middle School

BTW — I love the class and the freshmen are responding very favorably. Thanks again!

Ken J. SlaterPrincipal, Galva-Holstein High School

We are having a great time teaching the class and the kids think it is the best class they have.

Larry TeplyPrincipal, Diagonal Community High School

We are very pleased with our first year and we are currently looking for other ways to integrate your curriculum. I will continue to pass on good recommendations about your program to any counselors I come in contact with.

Angela LutteneggerCounselor, Carlisle Middle School

The kids coming into JDC typically have very stressed and impoverished family backgrounds and are either starved for your attention or try to keep you as far away from knowing them as possible. What I enjoy about the lesson activities and lecture topics are the open ended discussion questions and the hypothetical scenarios that allow for the students to have a voice and share their opinion without judgment. They LOVE to be asked what they think or to be asked to create an argument for or against a topic. This promotes WILLING student involvement which is a slice of heaven. In addition, many of the topics within the curriculum hit very close to home for our students, i.e. discussing self-control, loyalty, duty, and tolerance. Often times the discussion stemming from the activity or topic takes us down a really interesting road of healthy debating, the sharing of new perspectives, and story telling which is very healthy for these students. I am enjoying this curriculum and feel that most weekly topics can be adapted to fit a variety of student cultures and populations.

Stephanie DoubetScott County Juvenile Detention (IA)

We have enjoyed using this curriculum. We do modify the order of the lesson plans, the time frame, etc. in order to meet our needs and issues. Thanks for all your help this year.

Ann BrusGuidance Counselor, Denison High School

We are thrilled with the curriculum because we are able to showcase the role models, watch clips of the videos, and do follow-up activities. We are using the curriculum in our Advisory Time. We have just used four units this year as our pilot year and then will be incorporating it into the freshmen and sophomore advisories next year. We have completed follow-up surveys after the activities and the students loved it – especially when working with the videos. Thank you for providing this valuable curriculum.

Kim BowenCounselor, CPU High School (IA)

On a personal note, thank you very much for a wonderful curriculum. I love teaching this course. I can honestly say without hesitation this course has changed the lives of so many of my students.

Caroline BrownTeacher, East Gaston High School (NC)

Dr. Hoedel’s character education curriculum is one of the few age appropriate high school curriculums available and our students buy in because he speaks their language. Students are excited about the movies and the role models that we discuss. Staff are impressed that we can address literacy concerns through the reading and writing projects. Dr. Hoedel has gone above and beyond to assist us as we adapted his program to fit our advisee program, and his curriculum provides everything our teachers need to do this with minimal time spent preparing.

Rhonda HerrickBloomer HS (WI)

I am excited to let you know that we are off and running with your curriculum. It has been great. The kids are very engaged in the videos and the readings, which have opened up great discussions and learning. The staff is buying into spending extra time on character education and it is great to see. Thanks again for putting it together for us and kids in general across the country.

Trent GrundmeyerPrincipal, Hampton-Dumont High School (IA)

We run a block schedule of classes. Some weeks students have class twice and other weeks they have class three times. The class periods are eighty minutes long, so I’ve had to modify the Monday-Friday outline, but so far it is going well. The students have been very receptive and have enjoyed the activities and guest speakers. I feel the program, even in a modified form, will greatly benefit my students. Thanks for your help and for your great program.

Melissa HarrisonTeacher, Bushnell-Prairie Junior High (IL)

We are experiencing a great year. We are so excited about our Leadership initiative and have great teachers implementing this year?s program. Thanks for all of your help.

Charlene PodolskyDirector, Ombudsman Charter Schools (AZ)

The teacher doing the program said she loves it! She said that it is very well laid out and the movie clips/role model chapters are very relevant and interesting. We are running the class as part of a trimester, and she said that she is not sure what unit to cut, because they all look so good. Maybe next year it can be run as a semester long course.

JoEllen O’KeefeCounselor, Tekonsha Community Schools (MI)

Wow, I have really enjoyed your curriculum. I’ve had several students let me know already how it has changed their lives for the better. Thanks for taking the time and thought to put it all together. You are making a difference! I do have to tell you, I’m working on getting more classes and am making the argument to the principal. Don’t be surprised if you get a few more orders from Texas.

Michael ToddTeacher, Lewisville, TX

This class is going great. I think the students appreciate the opportunity to talk about LIFE ISSUES and how to deal with them. Most days we run out of time before we run out of conversation. I think my biggest challenge has been trying to keep on track and moving on the next topic!

Julie L. QueenSpanish Teacher, Rosman High School (NC)

Hi Joe… We have had a very enjoyable time teaching our classes this year… This experience has been one of the highlights of my career in education and I thank you for developing a curriculum that has helped us change the lives of some of our students.

Ted DaughtreyPrincipal, Granby High School (VA)

Our Character Leadership class is going great. Our teacher is doing a great job and I knew he would. Our students are loving the class. The one problem we are starting to have is everyone wants to take it now. I would like to keep numbers down and make it a class that has to be somewhat earned to take.

Gary FlaniganCounselor, Aplington-Parkersburg High (IA)

What a great experience! This class was the most fun I have had in teaching since I started this profession. The curriculum and content is full of useful and applicable information that I felt kept the kids engrossed throughout the year. Thanks for all your help thus far.

Ryan MitchellLovejoy High (TX)

I was very skeptical of the class at first, but it has really opened the eyes of some students that not only myself, but other teachers as well thought would be a waste of time. I now have students showing respect, using manners and showing promising signs of becoming a better student and a productive member of society through the development of their character. These kids were hand picked as at risk students to take this class and most had no idea what character even was let alone what it took to develop it. I feel it has made a big difference in the life of many of them. I look forward to continue helping these kids hopefully making a difference in their lives.

Dewayne BroganPetersburg H.S. (WV)