PHOTO COURTESY OF DALLAS AQUATIC CENTER
Tina Paul taught an aerobics class during her tenure at the Dallas Aquatic Center.
As of Tuesday, January 2, 2018
DALLAS — When Tina Paul retired as manager of Dallas Aquatic Center on Nov. 30, she knew it was the right time.
It wasn’t that she didn’t like her job, in fact it’s a role she loved doing, but Paul was ready for a new chapter in her life.
“I needed to step away now,” she said. “I wanted to leave on a positive note. I really liked my job, I just didn’t like the politics part of it.”
Paul was hired as manager in 2003 and left a big impact on those she interacted with on an almost daily basis.
“We were all very sad to see her go,” Gretchen Noll, Head Guard at the aquatic center, said. “She is dearly loved and revered by all our staff. She is one of the strongest, yet kind and giving person, I have ever known. I am honored to have worked for her.”
But any impact Paul has had, she is quick to credit to her staff. Finding the right employees made her time enjoyable and worthwhile, Paul said.
“I was fortunate to have a really good staff,” Paul said. “You know, you can hire a kid who has life-saving skills, but you can’t teach him to care about the job he’s going to do. I can interview a kid who cares about his community and teach him how to be a good lifeguard.”
Her tenure wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“The biggest challenge was there were so many people in this town who didn’t want the aquatic center,” Paul said. “It wasn’t being used enough. As population has grown and it became used more, it grew into more of an asset to the city instead of a pitfall.”
Under Paul’s guidance, she helped the DAC become a community staple.
And through it all, she’s left an indelible mark on those who go to the pool on a regular basis.
Kay Graven has been a member at DAC since 2008 and counts Paul as a friend — one who is willing to help out when she least expects it.
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“Her connection with the patrons sets her apart,” Graven said. “She went out of the way to make me feel welcome and at home. I once mentioned to her that I would love to learn to use a kayak, and without even thinking about it, she said, ‘You are welcome to borrow mine to see if you like it.’ She is very generous.”
Paul’s connection with the Aquatic Center has ended professionally, but not personally, allowing her a chance to keep impacting those who have grown to love her through her role.
“I will miss her in her leadership role, but am very pleased that we will see each other as fellow patrons,” Graven said. “The fact that she started her membership the week after she retired speaks highly of how special the center is largely because of her.”