Principal says time for a change

New Lee Elementary principal Kevin Lynch makes about a point during a local Kiwanis Club meeting. Lynch is entering his first year overseeing the Pauls Valley school for fourth through sixth grade. (PV Democrat photo)

The time for change was now for Kevin Lynch as he steps in to take the helm of a Pauls Valley school.

Lynch's former students, many now teachers at Lee Elementary and in PV, played a very big part in his decision to come here after spending the last few years as principal at Wynnewood's middle school.

He's been on the job for some time preparing for the new school year as Lynch replaces Tracy Felan, who left the office after one year to take a position at the University of Oklahoma.

“I knew there was a job opening,” Lynch said to members of the newest group he’s joining, the Pauls Valley Kiwanis Club.

“Basically I walked into Mr. Martin’s office and said I want to come work for you.”

Starting out Lynch taught at Wynnewood High School and then in Vanoss.

Then came an opportunity at East Central University he didn’t expect.

“It was kind of my dream job. History was my thing, and through a federal grant I was working to help social studies and history teachers improve,” he said.

“It was one of the best learning environments for me. I was able to learn a lot about working with teachers from all over. It was kind of a laboratory in how to work with teachers, how to empower them in the classroom.”

Lynch later returned to Wynnewood where he served as the middle school principal for six years.

Then came an offer, or better yet a number of offers, he couldn’t pass up.

It came in the form of some current teachers in Pauls Valley who used to be Lynch’s students. They began to actively recruit him to come here as principal at Lee Elementary after it was announced Felan would be leaving to take another position.

“Those kids,” Lynch says, referring to some of his former students who now teach here. “In my mind they’re kids.

“I taught some of them in high school and some at East Central. Many of the kids in the building have parents I taught.

“Sara Rickey was the first to text me, then it was Chad Chronister and several others by that Friday. A lot of people reached out to me that week. They were ready for a change, ready for some growth.

“I felt like there was a need and I had something I could bring to the table. Within 24 hours I had made a change. It’s been fast and furious.

“Sometimes it’s just the time to move on. It was just time for a change.”

Lynch was formally hired as Lee's new principal back in May.

He calls it a “landmark” time for him as he's hit the 30-year mark working in education.

That’s why Lynch is now looking at this next chapter in his career as a way of putting a stamp on his legacy in education.

“Thirty years – it doesn’t seem like it, but it goes fast,” he said.

“I have a great staff. They truly are devoted to their jobs. I’ve learned my job as principal is to take care of the teachers. If I do that the teachers will take care of the kids.”

The new Lee principal already has an eye on the future as he hopes to build a bridge between teachers at Lee and Jackson elementary schools and the local junior high as a way to better prepare students for their next move from one site to the other.

“I want to get the conversation going with those teachers,” Lynch said.

“You won’t see a lot of changes this year, but over the next couple of years you’re going to see more progressive methodologies and a push for technology.”

He also believes in “authentic learning and assessment” as more is needed besides just the state mandated testing process.

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