By Hartland Schools
Linda Hartley is currently serving her 36th year as a teacher in Hartland Consolidated Schools, and she has spent all 36 at Lakes Elementary School! She was hired immediately prior to the 1977/78 school year – the year Lakes opened – for a 1st/2nd grade combination class. She taught the split class for a few years and 1st grade for a couple of years before moving on to a 2nd grade classroom and she’s never looked back.
Linda received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan (so it was an easy transition to Hartland’s “Blue & Gold”.) She married Scott Hartley in 1976, a freelance artist and musician, and together they raised two daughters – Meghan, a music therapist, and Jennifer, a preschool teacher – who both have found success in New York City in their chosen professions. Linda and her husband reside in a rural community north of Ann Arbor with their two cats – Sophia and Woody.
Most memorable moments: (“G” rated)
“Kirk's story about his student who was moved to remark on his shoes rather than one of the big ideas that he had so passionately lectured about, reminds me of a similar story. Many years ago I was re-teaching Joey to add two-digit numbers. He was a high-energy little boy who often needed extra help to learn new concepts. So I gathered the base ten blocks and settled in with him in a spot where I hoped to minimize distractions. I patiently and methodically explained the process, moving the blocks on the mat in order to provide a good hands-on lesson. Joey listened and watched my every move with rapt attention. I really thought he was (finally!) beginning to understand this time. When I was finished, I asked him if he had any questions. Yes, he said, he had just one: Why is that one fingernail shorter than all the others?”
“This next story is about my daughter, Meghan. When she was 4 or 5 years old she came to school with me to spend the day in my classroom for Take Our Daughters to Work Day. After school had been dismissed for the day, I was tidying up and Meg was coloring, and I asked her how she had liked being in my class that day. She answered that she had liked it, had had fun with the kids, and then she added, "I didn't know you could act… so... so... sensible". Ha! My family still loves to tell that story and tease me relentlessly.”
Why are you are still here?
“People sometimes wonder at the fact that I have remained in the same building and in the same position for my entire career. But it truly feels fresh and exciting to me year after year. I always find new opportunities for fine-tuning my teaching: inspiring professional books to read, energizing workshops, and challenging new technological advances galore! Also, most importantly, I think, I have been extremely fortunate to work with incredibly smart, dedicated colleagues who share my passion and have added so much enrichment (and fun!) to my professional life.”
Positive thoughts about Hartland Consolidated Schools:
“Hartland Schools is truly an amazing place to teach and work and learn! I am thankful every day to work in an environment where people are friendly and caring and dedicated to working hard together in the interest of the students we serve. HCS is a learning community of the highest caliber: we listen to each other, care about each other, and learn from each other. Everyone's input is valued and that fosters a sense of belonging, a sense of being a part of something bigger than just oneself. We take the time to know each other and are interested in each other's lives, concerns, and interests. We share the joys and the sorrows. We constantly change and grow together. It may be summed up in that feeling of HCS being a family that people talk about... and I don't think you can overrate the impact that has on us as employees, as individuals, as a successful, thriving district, and as a community.”
“I think it is remarkable that during these really tough times for public education, Jan and this Board of Education use their leadership to pull together as a district instead of succumbing to divisiveness, which could threaten to tear us apart. (In my paranoid moments, I sometimes suspect that that is part of the opposition's grand scheme to undermine and destroy our whole democratic system.) I am very proud of our district's commitment to being an excellent, a premiere public school.”
“In conclusion, I just want to say that my long, happy teaching career in Hartland has certainly been one of the main highlights of my life. And, I have decided to retire at the end of this school year! It was a tough decision because I do still love my job and can't yet imagine a life without it. But the older, wiser retirees who left before me were right when they said that, although you might not be able to fathom it until it actually happens, you will know when it is time. And it is time now for me to plan to move on to the next phase of my life. I am excited that I will be able to spend more time with family and friends, and will also have more time and energy to pursue my other interests: cooking, quilting, reading, and practicing yoga. I may even find a way to work (albeit in a quiet, behind-the-scenes way) for a high-quality, equitable, public education for all children, and fair wages for their talented, hard-working teachers.”
“I want you to know that I will always treasure the many warm friendships I have enjoyed in Hartland and I will miss you! Thank you for so many happy years!”