After retiring from a more than 40-year successful career in education and educational administration in Florida and Tennessee, Ted Hennis and his wife, Pam, moved to Lebanon to be closer to family. After getting settled in a few years ago, it didn’t take long for the couple to become rooted in the local community.
Ted currently serves as the vice president on the Board of Directors for the Lebanon Theatre Company and as the president of the Lebanon Lions Club. He is also active in the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Lebanon.
Q: Tell us about yourself?
A: I am a native of Miami, Florida. I was born and raised there. I went to Florida State University and graduated with a degree in education, and began my career as a chemistry teacher at Coral Park High school in 1971. While working, I continued my education at Florida International University, graduating with a master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision. I moved into educational administration as a Jr. high/middle school assistant principal and finished my 30-year-career in the Miami-Dade school system as a high school assistant principal at South Dade Senior High. My focus was on curriculum and special education. In the interim, I was blessed with two sons, Ed and Eric, and my wife Pam of 29 years.
After retiring from the Miami-Dade school system, Pam and I moved to Monterey, Tennessee. where I started my second career as an assistant principal at Cookeville High School. I was in charge of students in the special education department. I finished this second career at Tennessee Tech University, where I was a Coordinator in the Student Services department, once again, assisting students with special needs.
In Tennessee, Pam and I lived in Cumberland Cove, a property owner’s association development, just east of Cookeville, where I became involved in the association as a board member, and eventually, served as president. I had the pleasure of serving that community for over 10 years, during which time, I was instrumental in securing and facilitating a 3+million-dollar-project, which brought city water and natural gas to each property owner in the Cumberland Cove community.
But, when the opportunity arose, Pam and I decided to move to Lebanon to be closer to our family in Cincinnati and Pam’s sister in Trotwood. Now, we are settled in Lebanon. Pam and I love the small-town ambience that our town offers us. And, Miami is just a plane ride away, if we want to visit our grandkids and our children that still live there.
Q: What are some of the ways you are involved in the community?
A: That’s enough about me. Let’s talk about Lebanon and The Lebanon Theatre Company (LTC). Having a background as a teacher and an administrator, I have always enjoyed being in front of people. So, it is only logical that I love being on stage. One of the reasons that I wanted to move to Lebanon was because of the community theater. I got involved with LTC in 2014, right after we moved here. I started helping with lights and sound, and moved my way up to the stage, and eventually, I was elected to the board of directors. This year, I am serving as vice president, and next year, I am looking forward to acting as president. This has always been my opportunity to give back to the community through the Arts. Live entertainment is a joy and a challenge. Even though we charge for each ticket, I hope the community realizes that we are all volunteers working to provide a community service through entertainment, and that we would give out the tickets for free, if we didn’t have to pay for rent, utilities, theatrical rights, and other operating expenses.
Additionally, I am the president of the Lebanon Lions Club. I am also active in the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Lebanon. These organizations help to keep us together (as a community) and let the surrounding communities know about us.
Q: What are some of the things you’re currently working on?
A: Right now, I’m involved in rehearsals for LTC’s production of “Guys and Dolls,” which will open on Friday, Sept. 22, at the Mechanic Street Playhouse in downtown Lebanon. Our full season of plays, including visiting company productions, can be seen on our Website at www.LTCplays.com. We even have a special séance arriving on our stage in the fall with “The Seance” opening on Friday, October 6. I could talk more about this, but the information is on the website, and it’s probably easier to find out the details there. I do want to thank Joe Hackman, from Channel 6 and Rochelle Collins from the Lebanon Arts Council, for the recent “Exposure” interview that aired on the Channel 6 City Show. There is a link to the show on our webpage, too.
Q: For you personally, what have been some of the most gratifying aspects being involved in the community?
A: So, what’s more rewarding to me? Applause at the end of a play, a laugh at a funny line on stage, or the look on a young child’s face when he/she tries on their new glasses for the first time. It feels good in all situations. That is why I’m involved, and that is why I recommend it to everyone. Even if you are not retired, everybody can take time to give back to the community, and to help those who need help. I’m sure that most of us can find some time to make their community a better place to live in. I’m retired, and I have the time to do what I do, but I feel like it is almost an obligation to give something back. I do it through the Arts and through community service. I do it for the community now and for those that will follow us in the future.
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