Mentor, traveler Faul retires after 19 years
Posted on: Jun 28, 2019
While experiencing the frequent transitions common to military families, Lanette Faul never lost sight of the work she would one day like to pursue when things settled down.
When her husband retired from the Army and the family moved to Delano, she jumped at the opportunity to get back into the classroom on a regular basis. After a year of subbing, then-Delano High School Principal Ted May approached her about a full-time job when a math position opened shortly before school started in the fall.
“I had two weeks to get ready,” said Faul with a laugh. “My first year I was one day ahead of the kids.”
As the most recent school year closed and Faul anticipated retirement after 19 years of teaching in Delano, she took a few moments to reflect on her professional journey.
“I’ve loved it. I’ve absolutely loved teaching math,” she said. “I’ve loved being a teacher.”
Faul’s legacy in Delano goes well beyond numbers. Early on in her time at Delano she took over the National Honor Society program, and when fellow teacher Leo Pospichal and his contacts in China decided to start a student exchange program in the mid-2000s Pospichal told Faul he wanted NHS students to make up the first groups of students to travel to China.
Faul and a group of six students made the first trek, following in the steps of the teacher exchange program previously established.
“That first week I was just a nervous wreck. By the time I got home I was exhausted,” said Faul with a laugh. “But you know what? I look back at it now and it was the best experience for me and the kids, to learn that no matter where you go in the world, people are people. They may speak a different language and have different customs, but they’re still high school kids.”
The exchange program has continued to this day, with Faul making numerous trips and hosting return visits in subsequent years, and is poised to continue after Faul’s departure under Ashley Johnson and Karla Vieau.
Roundabout path to Delano
Faul decided to become a math teacher while in college at Moorhead because she enjoyed the subject and had learned from several influential math teachers along the way. After obtaining her degree Faul briefly taught in Hawley before the transient nature of military life took over.
“After that I didn’t take anything permanent for a while just because we moved every three years and I didn’t feel good about taking tenure and then leaving,” said Faul. “I always wanted to get back to teaching. That was the idea. But with Michael being in the military I had to work my way around it for a lot of years.”
In the meantime, she served as a substitute and tutor, taught college night classes, and worked for the Army at the training support center at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. There, she helped keep soldiers supplied for training, worked with military housing and wrote a newsletter that went out to all reserve units in a five-state area.
“It was a fun job. I really enjoyed it and made a lot of friends,” she said.
When her husband retired after 20 years in the military and took a job in Plymouth, the family had to find a new home in just two days. After a whirlwind search for homes around the area, the Fauls chose one in Delano that was the right size and price.
“I think we just got lucky that we ended up in such a great community,” Faul said.
After taking the full-time DHS position Faul worked off a cart for a few years due a shortage of classrooms, but the addition of the high school classroom wings alleviated that problem.
“It was huge when they put those two wings on,” said Faul. “Nobody was on carts. Nobody was sharing rooms anymore. Nobody was crammed into little janitor’s closets.”
While not without challenges for teachers, the recently completed building projects have continued to create a positive learning environment.
“Things have come a long way,” said Faul.
The challenge of explaining mathematics in various ways to meet the learning styles of all students was one that Faul embraced.
“You have to be patient and creative, and be able to take a single problem and teach it in more than one way,” Faul said. “When I look at where I started and where I am now, I’ve done a lot of growing as a teacher and learned a lot of lessons from the kids, because that’s where you learn how to teach. The kids ask questions and you find out what works, what they understand and what they don’t understand.”
In addition to the students, Faul said the highlight of her career was working with the DHS staff.
“There have been a lot of people in and out for various reasons and a lot of people who have retired, but they have all been just absolutely wonderful to work with,” said Faul. “I think that’s what has kept me here, that I know coming to work I’ve got great people around me that support me. We’re like a family here.”
Faul said her experience teaching as a substitute in other districts both in and out of Minnesota gave her a full appreciation of the working atmosphere in Delano.
“If this is where you start out teaching, in Delano and you haven’t been anywhere else, you don’t realize how good it is,” she said.
Over the years, Faul served as a mentor for several student teachers who have since joined the DHS math department.
“She helped to make me the teacher that I am today,” said Emilie Kalvig. “There are things that I do every day in my classroom because that is how she showed me to do it. Her work in the classroom and as an adviser has done a lot for the students of Delano.”
Carly Linden agreed.
“She helped me with classroom organization, grading techniques, and overall preparedness,” Linden said. “In addition, the students will miss her endless supply of mints, the opportunities she gave to people to experience trips to China, and her over-the-top decorations for the holiday season!”
Mandy Weinandt said Faul set an example for other teachers through her dedication to her job, her enthusiasm for the subject and her organizational skills.
“She just really enjoyed math, so it was fun to work with her,” said Weinandt. “She was kind of the mother of the department there for a while when there were a lot of young teachers coming in, so that was really nice.”
Jerry Shouts, who tops the district’s seniority list, said Faul was “the most organized teacher ever” who was “invaluable to the math department” for her data-keeping skills.
“She is the star of the staff when it comes to probability and statistics,” Shouts said. “She spent many, many, many hours helping her students before and after school. She will be missed.”
With positive relationships and the memories of a fulling career in tow, Faul is looking forward to the next stage of life. In retirement she and her husband plan to enjoy a lake home in Pillager, fishing, canoeing and spending time with family.
“I will still spend time sewing and refinishing furniture when the weather keeps us indoors,” said Faul.
Post Categories: High School