Parting Words

It’s not easy to encapsulate a combined 55 years of teaching in a few words, but recent retirees Gayle Mindes, Bill Hoecker and Frank Tavano have given it a go

Gayle Mindes
Gayle Mindes

“The graduates of DePaul leave with a deep commitment to social justice, incorporating this into their practice in their respective fields. This sense of mission is the glue that connects us all—alumni, students, faculty and staff.”

Gayle Mindes, professor of early childhood education, joined DePaul in 1993. She served as an associate dean and interim dean for the college, as chair of the Department of Teacher Education, and as program director of DePaul’s Office of Academic Affairs’ Academic Leadership Development Program.

A prolific scholar, she has authored or edited 15 books, including her most recent, “Teaching Children with Challenging Behaviors: Practical Strategies for Early Childhood Educators.” During her career, she contributed more than 60 journal articles, book chapters, monographs and papers and presented at more than 100 local and national conferences. She was one of the chief architects of the college’s doctoral program, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this fall.

Frank Tavano
Frank Tavano

“As a recently retired teacher educator, I have taught and worked with graduates from our college, and I know that the future of our great profession is in good hands. Our graduates will teach, guide, model and make a difference in the lives of young people.”

Frank Tavano, associate instructional professor in elementary education, joined DePaul in 2000 as an adjunct professor and became a full-time faculty member in 2005. Drawing on his experience as a principal, he taught educational leadership as well as core and capstone courses. A frequent volunteer for open houses and recruitment fairs, he was often the first college representative that students met.

Tavano forged relationships with area schools, leading workshops for teachers, supervising DePaul students during field experiences and providing parent seminars. Tavano created a mentoring program for adjunct faculty in his department that was so successful it was adopted by the rest of the college. He also supervised the college’s administrative interns.

Bill Hoecker
Bill Hoecker

“I have always encouraged my students to lead with dignity and humility, to understand that they have limitations and that leadership needs to be shared if it is going to be sustained over time. Leaders need to be principle-centered and care about the organization and its members.”

Bill Hoecker joined DePaul in 2006, becoming the college’s superintendent-in-residence. As clinical assistant professor and clinical director of the Department of Educational Leadership, he restructured the internship program for aspiring principals and developed the Professional Learning Communities course that nearly all students in the college take.

Hoecker often consulted with area school boards on strategic plans. In addition, he helped launch the Academy for Urban School Leadership program for principals. ​​