… Seek wise counsel. The first job would be to determine “who is wise,” then, make them your best friend.
Dr. Dale Lynch was Tennessee’s 2014 Superintendent of the Year. As we are only weeks away from the fall conference (September 7-10th in Gatlinburg), I thought it would be nice to catch up with him and hear about some of the important things that have happened in his district this year.
Dr. Lynch has been in public education for 26 years. He began his teaching career in Washington County where he taught Economics and Business Education. He later transitioned into administration in Washington County at Jonesborough Middle School before becoming the Assistant Superintendent/Curriculum Instruction. After being in that role for six years, he became superintendent in Elizabethton. Dr. Lynch has now been the director in Hamblen County for 13 years.
“I have always wanted to take on roles that led to additional responsibilities. I love leadership.”
When asked who inspires him, Dr. Lynch spoke about two early leaders in his life – his parents. “Inspiration … it all begins with my parents. My father received his doctoral degree in Theology from Southern Seminary and served as a Baptist minister for over 50 years … 27 in the same church. My mother was the first female County Administrator (in Tennessee we call them County Mayors) in Virginia and she served in that role for over 20 years.”
Another thing that contributed to Dr. Lynch becoming a leader later in life, was learning the significance of servanthood. “I think leadership is all about helping and serving others. I had many responsibilities at the church while growing up that led me to learn the importance of working and serving with others.” When I asked Dr Lynch what he was most excited about concerning the district where he serves he shared about teamwork and hands-on learning.
Our school system has been working very closely with our County Mayor, City Mayor, Chamber of Commerce Board, and Industry leaders to develop a comprehensive program for students and teachers to match our local industry needs with our educational outcomes. This past summer we initiated a program called STEP (summer teacher externship program) that involved 39 teachers in teams of 3. We had math, science, and career & technical teachers working on teams that spent part of their summer in local industries experiencing hands-on learning. These teachers have been working on developing Common Core lessons specifically designed with our local industry challenges and will be presenting them to our students this fall.
And how does the 2014 Superintendent of the year take time to relax?
“Relax … every day is relaxing. I enjoy exercising and golfing as my past time hobbies. Some of the most fun times I have had in recent years is running with superintendent friends at TOSS events (the Donut Friar is the best place to run).” Dr. Lynch also enjoys spending time with his wife, Shannon, and their sons. “My wife . . . is a special education teacher and our two boys are in college. Family time for us is always special. We are a very busy “crew.” We love the summer life of spending time on the lake with family and friends.”
As we are approaching September, when Dr. Lynch will announce the 2015 Superintendent of the Year, I asked what it meant to him to be 2014 Superintendent of the Year. “I was extremely humbled by the announcement. The group of fine leaders across our state is truly amazing. The friendships I have made over these years are what make the superintendent’s job special.” What profession would he like to try other than education? Other profession … I can’t imagine myself in any other profession than education. After almost 3 decades in education, I love my job now more than ever.”