People to Know: Paul Tinder
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You may see him monitoring the halls during passing time, greeting students and asking them about their days, and sometimes giving a well-intended reminder to “get to class!”
For nearly twenty years, Administrative Assistant Paul Tinder has called Apple Valley High School home, and for many students, he’s become an icon of the school, making it difficult to imagine AVHS without him.
However, some may be surprised to know that our very own Mr. Tinder actually isn’t actually our very own after all, having originated outside of the state.
“I grew up in Mount Pleasant, Iowa,” says Tinder. “And I had two brothers and a sister. I was the middle child, and it was a town where everyone kind of knew each other, and I was known as Paul and Ethel’s son. That’s kinda how everyone related to everyone else…My older brother has always been an influence on me, and I would say that a lot of things I learned, I learned from him.”
Mr. Tinder attended a relatively small high school compared to AVHS; as a result, he found himself participating in a variety of sports and extracurricular activities.
“Most guys were three-sport athletes,” says Tinder. “I was involved in track, baseball, basketball, and cross country. I was involved in student council and student government at college as well.”
Admittedly, moving from Iowa to Minnesota isn’t exactly a major shift, with the Iowa border just a few hours’ drive away. However, I wouldn’t blame you for wondering how Mr. Tinder ended up in weather-crazy Minnesota instead of some place like sunny Florida or golden California.
“I went to college at the University of Northern Iowa,” says Tinder. “After I finished my education program there, my first teaching job was in Lawrence, Kansas, and then my ex-wife got a job here at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I remember she sent me a newspaper article about ‘Independent School District 196: Hiring over 300 new teachers’ and she put a little sticky note that said, ‘Try this, you might get lucky,’ and everything panned on from there.”
Having arrived at AVHS in 1996, Mr. Tinder has been witness to a lot of changes in our building, from the people to the infrastructure.
“I remember teaching here when all of the bathrooms were on the first level; we didn’t have any bathrooms on the second floor. I started here as…a long term substitute for someone, and they decided they didn’t want to come back to the district, and I was able to land a full time job.”
Believe it or not, Mr. Tinder didn’t actually start as part of our school’s disciplinary team. “I taught 9th grade civics. I also had Economics, World History, and American History. A little bit of everything!
“But in 1999, there was a person working in the attendance office who received an offer in Patrick Henry [High School], and the opening came up. I was interested; I had a small amount of administrative background because I was the athletic director at a middle school before I came here, and so I thought I’d give it a try.”
Mr. Tinder may be well-known inside our school for the role he plays in keeping everything in order; however, not many know about his life outside the walls of Apple Valley High School.
“I have two children,” says Tinder. “A son Matt, 24, he went to Burnsville High School, and my daughter Alexa, she’s 14, and she’s going to Metcalf Junior High, and then I have two step-daughters: Erin, who is a senior over at SES, and then Lauren who is an 8th grader at St. John the Baptist.”
Mr. Tinder also has a variety of hobbies and activities he’s interested in, including but not limited to:
Favorite sports: Golf (“It’s good exercise”) and basketball.
Favorite board game: Risk! and Monopoly
Favorite food: Pizza (“I could eat it at any time of the day.”)
Favorite activity: Landscaping
Favorite music: Gospel, pop, “Old school R&B”
Favorite artists: Earth, Wind & Fire, Luther Vandross, The Commodores,
Favorite magazines: Golf Digest, Sports Illustrated
Worst job: Rivet Bocker at a bus company: “I used to be able to tell you how many rivets go into making a school bus. It was hard work, but it paid for my education.”
Best Vacation: Hawaii: “I was fortunate enough to visit three different islands.”
Played basketball at University of Northern Iowa his freshman year.
Mr. Tinder is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic people at Apple Valley High School, and while some may wonder what school would be without him, Mr. Tinder eases any worries about him retiring any time soon.
“I am at a point where I can see retirement off in the future, but I still have a lot of years, and as I tell people, this is my home, Apple Valley is my home, and it’s a wonderful place, and what makes it wonderful, is the people”.