Middle School Theatre Arts Instructor, Nan Kaestner
remembers going to see the movie My Fair Lady
as a 5-year-old, getting the album, and soon after, learning all the songs and performing them for her parents in their living room using the window seat as a stage. Ever since that moment, theatre has been a big part of Mrs. Kaestner's life. A double major in Performing Arts and English at Mary Washington College, Mrs. Kaestner performed in summer theatre musicals throughout her college career, then continued after college performing in Dinner Theatre shows in the Baltimore region. While working for Saks Fifth Avenue as a personal shopper, Mrs. Kaestner used her theatre experience to choreograph dancers/performers that opened large fashion shows that were sponsored by Saks.
When her children were born, Mrs, Kaestner was thrilled to be home with them, and continued to volunteer and share her theatre talents by organizing and writing many school programs at her childrens’ schools. She received a Distinguished Service Award from the PTA council of Baltimore County. As well, during this time, Mrs. Kaestner performed lead roles in dozens of regional musical theatre productions, and choreographed large-scale musicals at Franklin High School.
For 35 years Mrs. Kaestner has been very involved in community activities in her hometown of Glyndon, where her family has lived since 1918, and where she has lived her entire life. She is a past president of Historic Glyndon Inc., was the Chair of Glyndon’s 125th celebration, developed house tours, was on the executive committee of Glyndon’s recent 150th celebration (where she wrote and led guided walking tours complete with costumed characters), and yearly she writes and guides a spooky Halloween walk in the Historic Emory Grove Hotel.
Mrs. Kaestner is also very involved in The Glyndon United Methodist Church where she has taught Sunday School for 30 years, sings in the choir, and writes and produces yearly Christmas plays involving children from the age of kindergarten to high school. After living in an old Victorian House for 30 years, Mrs. Kaestner, her husband Bob, and their family moved to the family home where she grew up, an historic home that had been originally renovated by her parents. Over the years Mrs. Kaestner has loved watching her children Ben, Eleanor, and Martha (now 29, 24 and 19) participate in a variety of school activities, especially sports, where she loved being a fan.
The opportunity to teach at Gerstell and develop the Middle School Theatre Arts program has been a thrill for Mrs. Kaestner, as it allows her to share her technical skills, as well as her passion for theatre with Middle School students. She loves to see the students develop confidence as they push themselves to learn theatre as a craft, develop proficiency in public speaking, work as a team, and critically analyze great works of theatre. Mrs. Kaestner feels that our Gerstell Academy Leadership Principles and Attributes are a wonderful lens with which to study and teach theatre, as theatre demands that students show respect, instruct others, listen, set examples, and approach every endeavor with passion, conviction, and persistence. Mrs. Kaestner truly feels that teaching at Gerstell has been a wonderful blessing in her life for the past 12 years.
Fun facts about Mrs. Kaestner
- Arts and Entertainment: Favorite roles played onstage include "Dolly" in Hello Dolly, "Cassie" in A Chorus Line, and "Gypsy Rose Lee" in Gypsy.
- Sports: Mrs. Kaestner’s grandfather was a golf pro at St. Andrews, Scotland, her father-in-law and her brother-in-law are both in The Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and Mrs. Kaestner played in the #1 position on her high school tennis team for 3 years.
- History: Mrs. Kaestner’s mom was a newspaper reporter and interviewed such luminaries as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, film star Carey Grant, and The Duke of Windsor (former King of England). All are pictured with her mom in Mrs. Kaestner’s den.