Life in Harmony: Paulette Hodney

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Paulette Hodney was born and raised in Lansing, but since then, she has traveled across the United States, experiencing all this country has to offer. From Los Angeles to Boston, Cincinnati to Denver, Hodney has called many different places home.

“All of these places that I lived, I was there to experience the life of the area,” said Hodney.

Her favorite place out of all of these was Colorado, because of her love of skiing. In and out of Colorado three times, her attraction to the beautiful landscape kept her going back.

After returning to the Lansing area, Hodney spent the next 20-plus years working in state government, real estate and marketing. Now retired, she is experiencing quite an exciting life right here in Okemos.

A musician, Hodney just released a new album titled Mostly Mellow. The jazz collection was recently released, and a CD release party held at Coral Gables in East Lansing in her honor.

Even though she took piano lessons for six years and has always had an interest in singing, Hodney attributes much of her success to the support of her husband, Don. A piano player himself, Don’s love of his wife’s voice inspired Hodney to start performing locally as well as in the Charlevoix and Petoskey areas.

After meeting Pat Cronley, her current piano player, Mostly Mellow was recorded and released. The rest is currently history in the making.

Hodney’s interests extend beyond that of the musical realm. Since retiring, she has also become passionate about education, specifically the special education of the underprivileged.

“Once I retired,” said Hodney, “I came alive.”

Since she was a teenager, Hodney has worried about the failings of the educational system to keep some of the underprivileged students on the right track in life.

Inspired by the works of Marva Collins, teacher and author from the Chicago area, Hodney started her Sense of Self Proposal. Sense of Self Proposal is an education model that focuses on special and successful kindergarten to sixth grade education for children in need. After three years of research, Hodney has written a book and a website about the qualities needed in effective kindergarten to sixth grade education as well the successes of implementing these techniques all over the country.

“They’re bigger than life, these problems,” said Hodney. “But if you get the children excited [about going to school], the parents will get excited, too.”


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Tags: don hodney, jazz in lansing, lansing musicians, lansing performers, michigan musicians, mostly mellow, pat cronley, paulette hodney