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Tuesday September 9, 2014 Edition
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Educator Comes Home To Vermont To Take Lead Position At Mount Abraham

Tuesday September 9, 2014

By Cookie Steponaitis

Principal Gaynell Lyman, Mount Abraham Union High School’s new leader always knew she wanted to be a teacher and Vermont schools gave her a passion for learning and teaching. Lyman was born in Bennington, grew up in Newport attending North Country Union High School and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont. While her professional career took her away from the Green Mountain State for over twenty years, Lyman never lost touch with her home and the reasons she entered education in the first place.
    “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” remarked Gaynell Lyman. “It was an exciting, highly reactive Chemistry experiment in high school that helped me decide what I wanted to teach. After completing my degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in Chemistry and Physics, I moved to an area just outside of Richmond, Virginia and worked for the Henrico County Public Schools. During my twenty years there I served in a number of roles: Physics and Chemistry teacher at Varina High School, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher at Wilder Middle School, Staff Development Instructor supporting K-12 initiatives, Educational Specialist for Instructional Technology supporting K-12 initiatives and Associate Principal at Douglas S. Freeman High School.” One of the defining moments in her career occurred when Lyman presented some of her school’s 21st Century lessons, Henrico 21 to 100 of the most innovative teachers in the United States and being with people who were innovative, integrated educational best practices and had a passion for children reaffirmed for Lyman why she chose education as her career path.
    While Lyman thought she would retire from the classroom at the end of her career, she found herself drawn into administrative leadership in order to make a bigger difference. Lyman realized she had a vision of high quality educational experiences for students and enjoyed working at the district level supporting the work of teachers through training, professional development and organizational structures. As the new leader at the helm of Mount Abraham Middle/High School Lyman looks forward to the challenges ahead and like all Vermont educators sees the challenges facing education and schools. “If I were to try to pick one challenge,” reflected Lyman, “it would be the number of initiatives and elements that we are required to focus on. It is difficult to implement with fidelity when multiple initiatives demand our time and energy. I believe the solution to this is to clearly identify goals and ensure that all efforts align with the intended outcome. A respected colleague of mine used a Christmas tree analogy. As we find/get new decorations we need to remove old ones to make room and maintain balance. Part of the challenge is to determine what stays and what goes.”
    Lyman has hit the ground running and remarked, “I am most excited to meet the students and become part of the Mt. Abe community. There are so many students and teachers with amazing talents. With just a week of school behind us, I am already getting to know some of the teachers and students." The Valley Voice welcomes Gaynell Lyman back to her roots and at the helm of Mount Abraham Middle/High School. In case you run into the Lyman family out and about you might catch a glimpse of Principal Lyman in one of her other roles as a certified Yoga instructor or just enjoying the beauty of the county as nature ushers in proof that fall is indeed here for yet another season.


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