One of the blessings of teaching was working with other like-minded people who valued education and working with kids. When I started teaching at Pine Hill School, little did I know that one other guy would be there as a fixture in the school throughout my thirty-one-year career.
When I first met Lindy Lentz during my student teaching year in 1984-1985, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him as our styles were quite different. Lindy wore a shirt and tie to school every day—something I tried to avoid (well, at least the tie 😎) at all costs. He ran a tight ship while I was a little more laid back. It took me the better part of a year to get to know him. He was one of the most intelligent people I ever worked with but was never full of himself. I’ve always found him to be a humble, down-to-earth guy, interested in many topics.
One thing was apparent right from the start—Lindy was an excellent teacher, always dedicated to his craft. He never mailed it in. Lindy taught for thirty-eight years and was just as committed in his last year as his first. Whether he was teaching fourth grade, offering help as our computer lab/technology teacher, serving as the lead teacher during summer school, or teaching kindergarten, Lindy exemplified what it meant to be a professional.
I know that I can’t possibly cover all of Lindy’s contributions to Pine Hill School during his career. He always gave 100% to our school and the profession. Lindy wrote grants, installed a kindergarten playground, got us up to speed in technology, prepared stimulating units and lessons, maintained his class website and school website, and assisted his fellow teachers. As a young teacher still finding his way, Lindy was a good role model. No one worked harder than him.
All teachers have their particular interests and areas of expertise, and Lindy was no exception. Perhaps the thing he was most passionate about was the use of technology as a vehicle to promote learning. Lindy took a leadership role in this area by teaching after-school workshops and serving as a mentor teacher. For several years, he took a small group of teachers to Technology Leadership Academy (TLA). That was a three-day/two-night workshop where teachers got to explore new technology that they could hopefully bring back and use at their school. One year I was fortunate enough to accompany him. It was fun for me to see him in this environment because he was the proverbial “kid in the candy store.” Like a child on Christmas morning, his enthusiasm was catching.
Whenever I had a technology question, Lindy was my primary resource. He always took the time to help his fellow staff members. Instead of making me feel ignorant about asking for help, he was always patient.
One incredible act that speaks to Lindy’s generosity happened when my dad passed away in 2007. I wanted to put a slide show together honoring his life, but I lacked the expertise or right frame of mind to try and pull this off in a short period. I will be forever grateful to Lindy for helping me so that I was able to play it at my dad’s Celebration of Life. He stayed after school two nights in a row late into the evening to help make this happen. It was such a kind gesture of thoughtfulness—one I will never forget. Knowing that my dad was a zoologist/biologist, Lindy went the extra mile by making copies of the CD and accompanying bird cover that I could give to my mom and each of my three older brothers.
Lindy is a devoted family man. He and his wife, Mary, will have been married 45 years in June. They are the proud parents to three children (Kelly, Mike, and Kari) and two grandchildren (Anna and Violet).
One of his grandchildren is fascinated with dinosaurs. Like everything else Lindy undertakes, he goes all-in. He wanted to further his granddaughter’s interest in dinosaurs, so he found a book that taught how to draw them. This was not just a cute project for him. His granddaughter has learned her dinosaurs as demonstrated in the video below. As you can imagine, Lindy’s and Mary’s driveway has become quite a hit with the neighborhood children. When it rains, guess who’s out there afterward drawing more dinosaurs?
Another inspiring feature of Lindy’s character is his volunteerism. He is active in his church, where he maintains the church website and is a regular member of the Sacred Heart Parish. When Covid happened, Lindy helped bring masses into people’s homes by video.
When Lindy and I retired more than four years ago, we committed to taking care of ourselves through diet and exercise. I’ve done pretty well, but his transformation is like nothing I’ve ever seen. He has gone from a guy who limped through the school hallways with a bum knee to someone who now regularly does five-ten-mile hikes with Mary. Talk about inspiring! One of his latest pursuits is to go fossil hunting on these outings. Check out some of his great finds.
Another interesting hobby that Lindy has is collecting books. Collecting and reselling books became more than a hobby; it was supplemental income. One of the most impressive stories about Lindy’s prowess in this area is that he was able to purchase his Tesla from his profits. Not bad for a bit of treasure hunting. Part of his attachment to his vehicle is all of the accompanying technology, but I also know he likes to give his friends a little thrill by showing its 0 to 60 mph speed. (I’m speaking from my white-knuckled experience as a passenger.)
When not searching for rare books for himself, he provided low-cost books for the rest of the staff. At least half of the books in my classroom library came from Lindy. He regularly brought in books that he resold to other staff members for 25¢ each.
As far as other hobbies and interests, the list is too exhaustive to describe all of them. Lindy loves making creative videos of his family and their experiences. I’ll highlight two of his more recent ones. Because of Covid, Lindy and Mary hadn’t been able to see one of their grandkids for a year. When the reunion finally took place, he made this video.
When Mary and Lindy hike, he often tracks their treks by using this fantastic app so that others can see where they went and what they saw.
Another one of Lindy’s interests is local history. It was a natural fit for him to become a member of the Humboldt Historical Society. He also enjoys taking Jerry Rhode’s OLLI classes on local history.
Finally, Lindy is the kind of guy who continues to teach and help others. I’ve been working on a children’s novel off and on for the past couple of years. Besides meeting with my regular writing group, I’ve asked a few friends to read through my draft to provide much-needed feedback. Lindy got so invested in my project that he has now read through my story three times. Each time he has made helpful suggestions that have helped me improve the overall quality. I appreciate everything he has done for the community and me. Once a teacher, always a teacher.