Educator of Excellence


Opening Remarks

Dale Veverka ‘70
IHS Alumni Association President

City of Independence

Remarks from the City of Independence

Independence Local Schools

Ben Hegedish
Superintendent Independence Local Schools


Jodi Hoffner

Sponsor’s Remarks

Joan Mencl

Independence Education Association

Nicki Lee

Audience Participation


Ben Hegedish
Superintendent Independence Local Schools

Jodie Hoffner

The Independence Alumni Association recognizes the accomplishments and achievements of long-time educator and Independence Primary School kindergarten teacher Jodi Hoffner by naming her the 2023 Educators of Excellence.

Hoffner is in her 33rd year of teaching. She has taught 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 1st and now kindergarten. She feels the best part of her career in education has been forming a close bond and life-long relationship with her students, their families, and her colleagues in a “magical” place like Independence Primary School.

Mrs. Hoffner was the lead coordinator of two National Blue Ribbon School Awards for IPS (1994 and 2012). She received her undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University and her masters degree in reading from Baldwin Wallace University.

Mrs. Hoffner is married to her husband, Edward. She has two amazing daughters: Emily, 26 and Rachel 22.

“Each year, my goal as a teacher is to touch the heart as well as the mind of each one of my students. Throughout my tenure in Independence I have formed close bonds and lifelong relationships with my students and their families. How sweet it is to be able to teach the children of my former students! I have had the privilege to teach with the most dedicated and talented colleagues, who are my biggest supporters and my closest friends. Educating young learners at Independence Primary School has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.”

Educator of Excellence

Many thanks to the following team members who made this event possible: Dale Veverka ’70, Bob Wager ’66, Don Krolikowski ’77, Joan Mencl ’70, Amber Veverka ’07

Previous Recipients

Geraldine Kaftan (2014)Jeffrey Enckler (2014)
Fred Schuld (2015)Kendal Gunlicks (2016)
Joe O’Brien (2017)Scott Maretka (2018)
Mark Echstenkamper (2019)William McGuinness (2020)
All staff (2021)Danielle Renton & Joan Mencl (2022)

The IHS Alumni Association

IHS Alumni Association was founded in 2007 to “Advance Memories One Class at a time”. Current active members represent graduates from the Class of 1942 to 2021. The group annually recognizes legacy graduates, presents cash awards to graduates and purchases a school gift. The Association is the caretaker of the Joe Labella Scholarship Fund. It provides assistance to classes planning reunions and bi-annually publishes the Alumni Spectator newsletter.

Donations to the Alumni Association can be made via the website:

IHS Alumni Association

To Join the Alumni Association please visit our website:

Join The Alumni Association

Executive Board

Dale Veverka ’70, President
Chris Zamborsky ’78, Vice President
Bob Wagner ’66, Treasurer
Victoria (Wiecek) Rich ’70, Corresponding Sec.
Alumni Integral Chairpersons
Vickie (Weicek) Rich ’70, Hospitality
Peggy Korecko ’88, Facebook
Don Krolikowski ’77, Website
James Hogue (IHS Principal), Honorary V.P.
Gwen Schmidt-Manfredi ’68, Pub-Relations
Amber Veverka ’07, Newsletter Editor

Independence High School graduates are eligible to become a full member of our Association. Independence Local Schools Faculty members may become associate members. Contact any officer, or visit, to join.