Teacher of the week 15: Leann Roder-Manson

Teachers are real life superheroes. Every day, CHS teachers touch the lives of thousands of students, and their work extends beyond the boundaries of the classroom. To show appreciation for these teachers, the Crier asked students to identify teachers that have made a real impact in their lives. A new student and teacher will be featured each week.

This week, Rebecca Kaye, ‘17, nominated music teacher Leann Roder-Manson.

Maggie Jakopac | Conant Crier

Mrs. Roder-Manson leads the CHS band through a piece of music.

Kaye: Mrs. Roder-Manson cares about all of her students and goes out of her way to make sure we’re okay. Her office is always someplace safe where you will not be judged and feel loved and important.

Crier: What made you passionate about pursuing a career in music? 

Roder-Manson: Growing up, my brother and sister both played instruments like piano and guitar. My sister is 13 years older than me, and my brother is 15 years older than me, so when I was little, I wanted to be like them. They even had a band in the basement. So, we have always done musical things.

Crier: How many instruments can you play and which one do you love to play the most?

Roder-Manson: I started playing the piano, and when I was in junior high and high school, I played the saxophone. I started on the alto-sax and then moved on to tener in jazz band. When I went to college, I had to learn how to play all instruments to a certain functional level. The instruments I miss most is my saxophone. If I had massive amounts of free time on my hands, I’d play my saxophone in ensembles like jazz band and concert band.

Crier: Do you have any favorite music?

Roder-Manson: Right now, my favorite piece of orchestral and band hybrid literature is “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral.” When I had my daughter, I wanted to give her a name that was a musical reference, so I named her Elsa after this piece. Many people think I named her after Elsa from “Frozen,” but that’s not true. “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” had been around for years before “Frozen” ever came out. It’s a truly gorgeous piece of music.

Crier: How to spend time with your family at home?

Roder-Manson: I do a lot of running around to various activities. My son plays the piano and is a white belt in karate, and my daughter’s in ballet now. I like to try to bring them to [CHS] games whenever I can and band practices. They really like hanging out with the band kids because the students are big siblings for them.

Crier: What are some of your favorite books or authors?

Roder-Manson: I love this writer; her name is Jenny Lawson. She writes humor novels about being awkward. Her books are hilarious, but that’s my light reading. I just read a book called “How to Raise an Adult” by Julie Lythcott-Haims. I thought it was about being a mom, but it actually ended up connecting more to my high school kids than my own kids. I talk about the contents of the book all the time and connect it to my life.

Crier: If you could talk to any composer, who would you talk to and why?

Roder-Manson: I’d want to talk to someone who was innovative; someone who pulled away from the norm. There were so many turning points in music that made new things happen. I think I’d talk to different people from different eras. I’d want to know what drove them to pull away from one style of music to another.

Crier: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

Roder-Manson: I’d want to do something where I can travel. I want to go see places I’ve never seen before like Paris or New Zealand.

To nominate a teacher who has made an impact in your life, click here.


Aditi Katwala

Aditi Katwala is a senior at Conant High School. She is excited for her final year working on the Crier as an editor in chief. She is also the captain of the Congressional Debate Team, president of HOSA, and involved in BPA. In her free time, she enjoys Indian classical dancing, Netflix and volunteering at local hospitals. Something that many don't know about Aditi is that she did her Bharatnatyam Arangetram (dance graduation) during the summer of 2014.

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