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Alumni Profile: Paul Lechner, GPS class of 1982

Alumni Profile:  Paul Lechner, GPS Class of 1982

Paul is a retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, with 26 years of service. He gained operational experience in both Iraq and the Balkans. These days Paul works at the Department of the Army Civilian with the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command at the Detroit Arsenal. His position is Chief of Workforce Development within the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Human Capital. (Imagine repeating that title over and over every day!)

Outside of work, Paul is the current Chair of the Grosse Pointe Woods Community Tree Commission and a Past President of the Grosse Pointe Sunrise Rotary. He has a daughter who is a senior at North and a son at De La Salle.

Paul recalls his time at GPPSS filled with excellent teachers who challenged and encouraged him to look beyond himself. During his deployment to Iraq, Paul would often recall the challenging books from Mrs. Susan Reames’ World Literature Class and reread many of them. Elaine Christiansen’s Geography and World Affairs class also helped to broaden his worldview and heighten his passion for global. From Kindergarten with Mrs. Toepel at Defer through graduation at South, the GPPS truly helped form Paul both personally and professionally. 

Even though Mrs. Reames has since passed, Paul had the opportunity to thank her towards the end of her life. She was “Matilda” in his eyes -- a truly larger-than-life teacher. One memory that sticks out for Paul is watching the “Mad Woman of Chaillot” with Katharine Hepburn, and Mrs. Reames requiring all of her students to wear hats. She challenged Paul to be a better writer, a better student, and to push himself intellectually.

But Paul isn’t all work and no play. His family made it a goal to visit and attend a baseball game at every MLB ballpark. So far they’ve traveled to 20 ballparks, and have only 10 more left to visit!

When asked if he had any advice for the graduating class of 2022, Paul had this to offer: “Who you are at 17 doesn’t determine nor define who you’ll be at 20, 30, or 50. Challenge yourself to move beyond your comfort zone in order to grow. Be reflective—Learn from your successes and failures. And remember to treat others as you’d like to be treated.”

Want to Nominate Someone to be Profiled?

As part of this year's celebration of 100 years of educational excellence at Grosse Pointe Public Schools, we are partnering with the district to profile 100 alumni from our illustrious first century.  

Are you or someone you know interested in being profiled in a story that will be distributed district-wide across various social media and news platforms?

Start by nominating yourself or someone you know here.

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