Ensights Magazine

Hans Holzen

Faculty Focus: Hans Holzen

Paul Downey '92
New Grade 5 teacher Hans Holzen blends creativity and science.
What is your background?
I was born in San Antonio but raised in Nashville and graduated from Brentwood High. My dad, a retired surgeon, was also a bluegrass fanatic. My two sisters and I grew up learning to play the fiddle and traveling far and wide for bluegrass festivals and fiddle concerts. My mom became a music camp administrator. One of my sisters became a Zoo Veterinarian in Orlando, and my other sister, who is still in the area, is a CPA with Asurion. We all still play music together at family reunions.
You’ve been seen playing music with the Middle School band groups. Tell us more about your musical background.
I had a lot of exposure to Nashville's music scene as a young person and began playing professionally at age 16 on Music Valley Drive. I majored in music and toured with bands and songwriters for about 10 years. Highlights were traveling through 48 states, Canada, and Europe, and performing on Prairie Home Companion and Austin City Limits. Also, I got to live in New York for five years, which led to me meeting my wife and becoming a teacher.
Where have you taught math and science before?
I transitioned out of music full time and into education about six years ago. I was moving a lot when my wife was establishing her career and finishing her Ph.D. in Psychology. I have taught middle school math and science in Winder, GA, Omaha, NE, and Metro Nashville Public Schools.
Are there any particular advantages to teaching fifth graders?
Most of all, I love the curiosity that fifth-graders still possess; it is wonderful for engaging them in science. It seems to be a sweet spot where they are developing enough to think about some big concepts, but still young enough that they haven't reached the "I know it all" stage. You can really see some lightbulbs go on in the classroom; it's a real pleasure to watch that.
The theme of this issue is “healthy, balanced lives.” In what way have you tried to live a healthy, balanced life?
As a husband, a parent of young children, and a committed teacher, it can be so hard to maintain a healthy and balanced life, for sure. Fortunately, my wife and I are great partners and enablers for healthy eating and exercise. We choose to eat a lot of fresh food, and she's good at shaming me when she knows I'm indulging in sweets too much! We realize that exercise is connected to a healthy mind, so we try to prioritize workouts when we can. It certainly helps to have facilities on campus for that and to have healthy and delicious options for lunch every day at Ensworth. Other things that help me keep a healthy mind and attitude are cooking for my family and playing my mandolin (even if it's only a few minutes at a time).
How do you see Ensworth as encouraging healthy, balanced lives for their students?
Ensworth does an excellent job of encouraging a healthy life for students. The physical education staff here is the best I've ever seen, and the students' involvement in PE and recess are seen as an important part of every day. The food is fresh, varied, made with high-quality ingredients, and expertly prepared. I also think it helps that the students know the chefs and the kitchen staff. The people feeding us are putting a lot of love and craft into what they do, and that can be felt by the students and teachers.

Share This Article

List of 5 news stories.

  • David Braemer and the new building

    Message from the Head: Threads That Connect

    Mr. Braemer, Head of School, reflects upon ten years at Ensworth and the threads that binds our community together.
    Read More
  • LS students in the new lower school

    Opening of the New Lower School Building

    On the Red Gables Campus, the first day of the spring semester began with a lot of clapping. Students in Grades K–2 lined the hallways, cheering and applauding as their friends in Grades 3–5 carried their belongings from their old classrooms and processed through the crowd to their space in the new Lower School building. The celebrating continued in the new classrooms, as students walked around wide-eyed, clasping their hands together in delight as they explored the bright, colorful spaces that were now their new home.
    Read More
  • CEI event parents

    A Sense of Belonging for Everyone: The Office of Community Engagement & Inclusion

    Threads of tradition woven with cords of innovation knit together the tapestry of belonging at Ensworth. Ensworth has offered a progressive educational experience since the 1950s and continues to be on the cutting edge of academic practices and technological innovation.
    Read More
  • the braemer family at graduation

    Message from the Head of School: Looking Forward

    A message from the Head of School, David Braemer, during the summer months of 2021.
    Read More
  • covid innovations student studying

    COVID Innovations to Keep

    Although few people want to continue living under the restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, intrepid educators at Ensworth have learned that going back to the way they used to do things is not always the best course of action.
    Read More