Mr. and Mrs. Zinkievich have been teaching at Blake for 5 and 12 years, respectively. In their many years of teaching here, they have become beloved fixtures within our music department.
Mr. Zinkievich vividly remembers getting into music in the fourth grade. He had a young, high energy music teacher that instilled a genuine love of music within him. Since then, music has been a central part of his life.
Mrs. Zinkievich has always known she wanted to be a teacher. When she got into high school, she felt as though music was truly the only thing she was proficient in. Naturally, she chose to combine both passions and become a music teacher.
Mr. and Mrs. Zinkievich have “hopped around” and taught at many different schools both in and out of the county. Both have taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The two met in 1995, when they both were employed teaching in Montgomery County and were working in the County Elementary Honors Chorus. Mrs. Zinkievich recalls being impressed by Mr. Zinkievich’s tea set, and when he eventually asked her on a date, other county administrators encouraged her to change her plans to meet with him. Two years later they got married!
The Zinkieviches agree that the best thing about teaching is the students. Mrs. Zinkievich comments that every day is new and exciting as a teacher. Getting to be creative and artistic with kids every day is very gratifying for the two teachers.
“The students you meet in music programs are just some of the nicest people to get to work with,” reflects Mr. Zinkievich.
Mr. Zinkievich’s favorite memory from his time at Blake is the Disney trip the music department took in 2019. He had told his students to check in with him at 12:30 with a picture of where they were in the park and who they were with. He recalls sitting down to eat lunch with Mrs. Zinkievich and, at 12:30 on the dot, his phone flooded with texts from the students, all posing for the camera with Mickey ears and huge smiles.
Mrs. Zinkievich’s favorite memory from her 12 years at Blake is the trip that A Cappella took in 2019 to Nashville, TN. Blake was invited to participate in the 2019 Barbershop Harmony Society Midwinter Convention. Mrs. Zinkievich and members of A Cappella constantly rehearsed their pieces together while staying at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. Blake’s A Cappella group performed beautifully at the Grand Ole Opry, and Mrs. Zinkievich even joined in at the conclusion of one of the songs!
The immense impact that the Zinkieviches have had on Blake can be most clearly seen in the way their students regard them. Senior chorus student Ella Weikert has known Mr. and Mrs. Zinkievich since she was 12. She explains that, though she grew up in a very musical family, the Zinkieviches truly helped to foster her love of both music and teaching, and had a large impact on her decision to study music education in college.
“I never felt like I was good enough at music to pursue it as a career, but working with the Zinkieviches has increased my confidence so much. I hope that someday I can have as positive of an impact on my students as the Zinkiviches have had on me,” expresses Weikert.
Senior chorus student Joseph Huddle has had Mr. Zinkievich as a teacher since middle school and explains that “the Zs are kind of the entire reason I kept singing through middle school and into high school. Blake Chorus is going to miss them.”
Marcela Jones-Moreno has been a student of Mr. and Mrs. Zinkievich for 4 years. In those years, they have become somewhat of parental figures to her.
“Through a lot of my dark moments, they were there for me, so they mean the world to me” explains Jones-Moreno, “So many students look up to these two teachers and they’ve inspired so many kids.”
It is clear that the Zinkieviches are loved dearly by their students for their genuine kindness and support.
As for their post retirement plans, the Zinkieviches plan to take a gap year to just rest and recharge. They hope to try many new things, travel around the country, work in their garden, and spend lots of time with their family.
Mrs. Zinkievich jokes that “the pay [of retirement] isn’t much better, but the hours sure are!”
Mr. and Mrs. Zinkievich have two kids, both of whom are pursuing music education. The two look forward to guiding their children and helping them begin their careers as music teachers.
This certainly isn’t the end of their journey in music education. The Zinkieviches do plan to eventually be employed again, perhaps just a part time job doing something they love. Regardless of if they are still teaching, the Zinkieviches will always be involved in some way in the music education field. Whether it is through helping their children or checking up with past students, the Zinkieviches will always be fondly regarded as mentors to young musicians in our community.