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Head of school Joseph Lennertz helps get the Wayland Academy graduating class of 2014 lined up before commencement exercises in this May 18, 2014 Daily Citizen Archive photo. He quoted Ellen Johnson Sirleaf when delivering the charge to the graduates: “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

Joseph Lennertz has announced his retirement from Wayland Academy after more than 40 years at the school.

Lennertz is set to retire on June 30, 2020. He first came to the boarding school in 1978 as a Spanish teacher and has since served as head resident of Wayland Hall, chairman of the language department, academic dean, interim president and has been head of the school since 2012. His announcement triggers a search process and representatives with the Resource Group 175 search firm will be on campus at the end of the month.

“It’s time. I think I’ve contributed everything I have to contribute at this point and, at some point, it really is important to step aside and let other people move in,” Lennertz said. “I feel very comfortable with where we are. I feel positive. I’m not leaving because I don’t like the place. I’m not going far, and I will be on campus, but it’s time. I need to move on to do something else.”

Lennertz said he plans to catch up on his reading, particularly mystery and spy novels, and continue to travel the world. He also said he would like to get involved in some kind of literacy project.

“I’m not hanging up my skills at all,” he said.

Lennertz said that, as head of school, he’s proud of bringing stability to the community as well as the science, technology, math, art and math program and Wayland’s participation in Blue Zones. He also worked to improve campus technology and security, boost alumni engagement and diversify the student population.

“I kind of joked when I moved here in 1978 that I’d stay until I got bored,” he said. “I’ve experienced all kinds of emotions, but never boredom. I’ve never ever been bored. There’s always been a challenge and I seem to always have been able to meet those challenges.”

David C. Larson, the chair of Wayland’s Board of Trustees, said Lennertz guided the school well and positioned the school well for educational opportunities in the future.

“He is one of the most respected teachers and administrators in Wayland’s long history and will be remembered for his intellectual curiosity that helped him inspire continuous improvement in all aspects of the school,” Larson said.

Lennertz received Wayland’s highest award in 2011, the Distinguished Service Citation. A search committee made up of trustees, alunmi, parents and faculty will be led by William T. Luedke IV, a former board chair. They will work with the search firm to identify candidates for interview.

“I’m happy to see that the place is in good place, the school is in good shape, the students, the faculty, the curriculum’s in good shape,” Lennertz said. “It’s going to be an exciting next period of time.”

“I kind of joked when I moved here in 1978 that I’d stay until I got bored. I’ve experienced all kinds of emotions, but never boredom.” Joseph Lennertz, Wayland Academy Head of School

Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter @chris_higgins_ or contact him at 920-356-6751 and

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