By Scott Bidroski
Longtime educator and Superintendent Russell Lechtenberg is officially retiring this summer.
The Hay Springs administrator is ready to dedicate all his time to chasing around his 22 grandchildren and attending all their activities.
Lechtenberg came to Hay Springs in 2017 after previously retiring from West Boyd School as the Principal/Superintendent.
He served the Hay Springs School District for a total of five years.
His career in education began in 1973 at Elgin High School as the Agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor.
Following that year, he returned to the farm until he dove back in education in 1981.
Lechtenberg then began his impressive career in education in which he has touched countless students live in many capacities.
His specialty; Agriculture. Using this background, Lechtenberg has had a hand in FFA Programs and Agricultural classes at many schools, helping students achieve a lot of success in those fields.
“As the Ag instructor the highlights would be the personal relationship developed with students and staff. I always enjoyed the student home, farm, or ranch visits and believe that gave me a tremendous advantage in understanding where the students came from when they arrived at school,” said Lechtenberg.
And in recent years, his experience helped revive the FFA program at Hay Springs High School.
The positives that have gone with Lechtenberg’s years in education are numerous.
“Both of my careers, on the farm in production agriculture and at the school in the classroom and as an administrator have provided me with everyday opportunities to influence my children and many other children over the 40 plus years I have spent in education,” said Lechtenberg.
As far as what has changed in the educational system since he began in 1973, he focuses on the challenges of managing technology and the differences in the home life of students.
The latter is something that he feels very strongly is a key to a student’s educational success.
“I believe strongly that the best thing we can give our children is a stable and consistent home environment,” added Lechtenberg.
“Students and teachers of today have much more challenging and life changing aspects of educating students than 40 years ago,” he added.
Lechtenberg and his wife Sue, who just celebrated 50 years of wedded bliss in December of 2021, will look to fill their free time with there 22 grandchildren and their activities.
The couple will also spend time gardening and homestead landscape work along with the maintenace of a 2-3 acre vineyard with 1,200 vines.
And if that is not enough to do with their time, they will continue to take care of their 100 cow-calf pairs and the 80 breeding goat does.
Out of these does, they will utilize the production to help provide learning opportunities for 4-H and FFA students.
And the final item on the agenda; a little bit of travel.
“I am sure our travel will include a return trip to Hay Springs occasionally.”