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Joanne is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, where she graduated from Benson High School in 1945. She earned a B.S. degree in physics at Iowa State College in 1949. For the next two years, she taught mathematics and biology at Central High School in Omaha. Joanne became a Teaching Assistant in Mathematics at the University of Minnesota where she earned an M.A. in mathematics in 1952. After she was recruited at the University of Minnesota, Joanne worked as an electrical engineer at General Electric in Schenectady, New York for three years. She taught mathematics at Central Park Junior High School in Schenectady for a year and came to Davis Senior High School in September of 1956.
Joanne's expertise allowed her the ability to teach math at every level, from Algebra to Calculus. In 1961, she began teaching AP Calculus, the first advanced placement class to be taught at Davis Senior High School. Over the years, her students were outstanding and she is most proud that the majority of them earned "5" on the AP Calculus BC examinations. For six years beginning in 1978, the College Board invited her to be a reader for the advanced placement calculus examinations. She also conducted sessions for calculus teachers at College Board Workshops until 1992. As a result of student nominations, Joanne received the Terman Award at Stanford, the Harvey Mudd College Distinguished Teaching Award twice, and the Edyth May Sliffe Award from the Mathematical Association of America twice. In 1991, Joanne and Cathy Carr West were the first participants in the Uman-Davis Sister City Teacher Exchange in Ukraine. Throughout her career, she has been an active member of the Davis Teachers Association and served as DTA representative, negotiator and vice president. Together, with her husband, Leonard "Red" Moldenhauer, they became youth counselors at Davis Lutheran Church in 1966, where Joanne continued to be the head counselor until 1996. She spent countless hours dedicated to her students at Davis Senior High School, spending time before and after school and during noontime, helping them until they understood important math principles.