Longtime D-NH teacher and coach retires

Retiring Dike-New Hartford art teacher Lin Smith (pictured) stands in front of her whiteboard as she prepares to step away at the end of the school year. (Robert Maharry/The Grundy Register photo) 

During a recent class, Dike-New Hartford teacher Lin Smith asked her eighth grade students to try finger painting with a twist: could they turn the seemingly juvenile practice into an abstract art form?


“(It’s great) just to see some of these kids that start out with pretty minimal skills, to see just how they’re visualizing changes,” she said. “It probably should take you more effort to make this abstract painting because you don’t know where you’re going to end up—as opposed to knowing (that) my finished product is going to be this tree… Usually, they’re so by the book.”


In many ways, her life has followed an abstract path. A Waterloo native, Smith spent time in New Orleans after graduating from UNI before landing back in the area five years later and accepting a job with the Dike district as a K-12 art instructor.  


Her title has shifted on several occasions since then. When Dike and New Hartford combined six years later, she moved to the New Hartford campus and taught K-8, and Smith’s tenure has also included a 12-year stint teaching her first love, physical education. At the end of the current school year, she’ll walk out of the halls for the last time and call it quits after a 31-year career. 


One of her lasting contributions to the district is the establishment of a tennis program: Smith—a college tennis player at UNI—has coached both that sport (for 26 years) and track and field, and she’s always been passionate about athletics.


Smith doesn’t trace her artistic leanings back to any particular member of her family, but her father was a culinary artist of sorts as a restaurant owner and her mother a musician. 


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