Lyman leaving TVMS with a heavy heart
by Jack Deming
Apr 28, 2014 | 3543 views | 0 0 comments | 100 100 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Twin Valley Middle School Principal Keith Lyman in front of the new administrative wing still under construction.
Twin Valley Middle School Principal Keith Lyman in front of the new administrative wing still under construction.
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WHITINGHAM- Keith Lyman has served as principal of Whitingham Elementary/Twin Valley Middle School for the past four years, where, up until this year, he oversaw the education of 240-plus students during a time of transition, change, and also growth. Lyman recently accepted the principal position at Brattleboro Area Middle School, an opportunity which will allow him to be closer to his young family in Vernon, and focus on overseeing middle school education, an area which he learned to love at TVMS.

“After I got here (TVMS),” said Lyman, “the four years of growth for me was tremendous. I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience.”

Lyman came to TVMS in the fall of 2010 after serving as athletic director, physical education teacher, and baseball coach at Leland & Gray High School, his alma mater. Lyman’s hiring at TVMS made him the fourth principal in five years at the school and over the next four years he made it his mission to increase proficiency in his students’ education. “My vision was to expand our standards-based grading system by building a proficiency model that put the emphasis on student outcomes,” said Lyman. “We need to make sure students are not moving forward until they’re proficient.”

Coming to TVMS with experience in teaching at a high school, Lyman presided over a student population featuring grades kindergarten through eighth grade, which he says gave him a wider and greater grasp on the full spectrum of education. This year, when the K through fifth-grade students were all moved to Twin Valley Elementary School, Lyman was able to focus on middle schoolers specifically, as they make their way through the transition years before high school.

“That transition helped me get to know the students individually because I wasn’t pulled in as many directions,” said Lyman. “I’ve learned a lot from these kids, and they helped me realize middle school is where I want to be. A lot of people look at middle schoolers as going through tough times, but I look at them as a lot of fun. They’re caught in the middle, they’re curious, and it’s a great opportunity to influence them positively at such an impressionable age, and that’s rewarding for me.”

A major point of pride for Lyman lies in his hiring decisions. He believes the teachers and staff assembled at TVMS are of the highest degree, and all share a common enthusiasm, as well as a focus on innovation, and a team-driven philosophy of cross-curriculum. “Going through the process of hiring teachers is a learning experience,” said Lyman. “It’s too important a decision to not have the best, and the staff I’ve been able to hire, I’m proud of. They’ve developed a climate of empowerment, energy, and enthusiasm.” Lyman said that while he feels installing the proficiency model at TVMS is not finished, he is confident that the teachers he leaves behind will complete the work.

Lyman’s decision to leave TVMS for BAMS did not come easily, and Lyman was not actively searching for a job. But when the position opened at BAMS he knew it would give him the opportunity to focus on its middle school population of seventh- and-eighth-graders, and more important, be closer to his wife Jessica, and their 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

“It’s very exciting, but it’s bittersweet,” said Lyman. “I love it here. The staff, the teachers, the students, and the community really embraced me and it tugs at my heart. I just want to thank them for all of their support.”

Twin Valley School Board Chair Seth Boyd said that Lyman was a dedicated administrator who shared a common vision with the board in the transition to a high/middle school. “The stability of having Keith there for four years was important,” said Boyd. “He did a great job building a strong middle school staff and a strong middle school program. He built a strong foundation.”

Even with Lyman and Twin Valley High School principal Bob Morse leaving the school district after this year, Boyd says the high/middle school has a positive and opportune future in bringing in a new administrator.

“I’ll still be following these kids in the future just like I follow the students I had at Leland & Gray,” said Lyman. “I’ve had a great time with these students, particularly this year.”
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