Administrative Team

P. Gibbons


August 2023

Dear LCS Families and Community:


It is with great anticipation that I take this opportunity to welcome your family to the Lyme Central School District for the 2023-24 school year.  This is such an exciting time and we are all very much looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces around our halls, as we open our doors for another school year.  With each new school year comes an opportunity to be reinvigorated, to set new goals, and to be inspired to try new things.   As we take on some new initiatives this year, we will be looking for your continued support and partnership.  We have had several committees working diligently over the summer to plan, innovate, and implement some new ideas that will better serve our students, staff, and our supportive community. 

Recently, our Board of Education approved a much needed $7.5 million dollar Building Project.  We will be asking for voter approval of this Building Project in late October.  Much like our homes need upgrades and repairs, so does an aging school building. It has been quite some time, roughly a decade or more, since repairs have been made to our infrastructure. A recent building condition survey was conducted and revealed that our heating, plumbing, and electrical systems are past their prime and age of use.  Also of note, our windows in the elementary wing are inefficient.  They are too heavy for our teachers to open and close safely and are not economical.  There are many more examples to give that explain the reason for this much needed renovation.  To learn more about the project, I encourage you to attend an informational session with our architectural team which will be held on October 12th, 2023 prior to our Board of Education meeting. Please plan to attend and learn more about the project with our expert design team.  Informational boards and bulletins will be sent out prior to the meeting so that you can come prepared with any questions or concerns you may have.  The district will be asking for your vote on October 24th, 2023 from the hours of 7am-8pm in our STEM room, the same room we use for our annual budget vote.  This building project will have no impact on our taxpayers.  We will be using our savings as well as state aid to assist the district in paying for this project.

The Lyme Central School District will be implementing a character education program called, Positivity Project.  Mrs. Aubertine, over the course of last year, had been piloting some components of this program in several of her classes and we see great changes being made.  It is now time to share this program with the rest of the school.  The premise of this program is basically, getting back to recognizing, learning about, and celebrating displays of kindness in ourselves and in others. Students will be engaged in daily and weekly discussions about different themes of this program.  Class time at the secondary level will not be heavily impacted; rather natural discussions will be led where students can see and recognize these components. Communications and resources will be coming home so that families can instill these same topics at home as they are discussed at school.  This partnership will be critical and helpful to elicit a cultural shift where we believe instilling these strengths in each other will help make our school and home communities stronger.

Another important initiative is the re-invention of the Buddy/Mentor Program.  With the onset of the Positivity Project, we thought it would be a great opportunity to pair our older students with our younger students, like we did years ago, to help our students build stronger connections with one another.  If COVID taught us anything, it is that isolation is not good for anyone.  Utilizing our unique situation to our advantage, where all of our students are under one building, it will afford us the opportunity to unite our students once again.  Our younger students look up to and want to emulate our older students. Being a role model is a great responsibility.  We know we have great kids and families here at Lyme.  We feel this is a great time to reconnect with one another and show that empathy, compassion, and kindness toward one another are valued here at school and echoed at home.  We have been admiring other schools with similar programs, learning how they have implemented a strong mentor program. We have done our homework and will be bringing this model to your attention in September.  Please start thinking about whether this program could benefit your child in grades 1-8 and for our secondary students, please consider being a mentor.  More information will be coming home in the month of September about our new buddy/mentor program.

I am pleased to share that we will be able to offer FREE lunch and breakfast to ALL of our students, every day, once again this school year and we will be able to do so for the next THREE years!  We are able to do so because our former Food Service Director, Mr. Craig Orvis in collaboration with our current Food Service Director, Mrs. Maureen Benz, applied for Community Eligibility Provision or CEP recognition through NYSED and we were awarded this status.  This is a tremendous benefit for our families and our school district. We are so fortunate that Mr. Orvis and Mrs. Benz had the foresight to apply for this opportunity while it was being offered by NYSED to assist our families and district.  Please know that your child can still purchase an additional lunch and/or ala carte menu item(s) at your discretion during meal serving times. Furthermore, it is still imperative that our families continue to fill out the CEP Household Income Eligibility Form(s) that are part of the Back-to-School paperwork.  Completion of these forms assist the district in demonstrating eligibility for additional funding for other state and federal programs. We rely on this funding to provide some necessary programs and services for our students.

I am also pleased to share that at long last, our Mascot, will be making its debut during the 2023-2024 school year.  The production of Ontario “RIO” Laker will be completed very soon and we will be unveiling RIO at an upcoming school and/or community event.  We are anxiously awaiting Rio’s big debut!  It is our hope that who RIO is will remain a mystery and our fans will have some fun guessing Rio’s true identity.  What fun it would be to try to figure out the fan/student behind the costume!!

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome some new staff members to the district as well as welcome our returning employees.  A few have been here for a few months but I want to make sure everyone is aware of these new additions to our faculty and staff.  Please join me in welcoming the new staff to the district:

Mrs. MaryAnne Bailey… Secondary ELA teacher (grades 9, 11, and 12)
Mrs. Katie Shultz …… Elementary SPED/Resource teacher (grades K-6)
Ms. Brightlynn Sharlow …. Elementary teacher (grade 5)
Mrs. Cassandra O’Riley-Smith …… Teacher Assistant (elementary)
Mr. Matt Tucker….. Custodian
Mr. Kent Sloat ….Custodian
Ms. Nova Dristoll…. Substitute Bus Driver

Mrs. Chris Rickett… Sub Caller

We anticipate the retirement of two long-standing employees of our District prior to the New Year.  We wish them a fond farewell as they enjoy their much-deserved retirements. They are:

Mrs. Tammy Ditch… Elementary teacher (grade 5)
Mr. Kevin Shampoe… Bus Driver

There is much to celebrate as we begin the 2023-2024 school year. LCS has great students and staff, a strong, cohesive Board of Education, loving families and caregivers, and supportive communities that believe in our school and our school community.  We remain thankful and dedicated to the work that we do to provide our students with a safe, clean, rigorous, and supportive learning environment. However, we cannot do this work alone.  We are forever indebted to our families, our parents and caregivers, who support and partner with us to do what is best for our students, each and every day. 

As we come together to begin the school year, with new programs and initiatives, we do so with a renewed spirit of hope, trust, teamwork, and camaraderie.  We will be the role models and echo the tenets of togetherness at home and within the walls of the district, to begin to unite our students toward a better tomorrow, one that is filled with kindness and admiration for one another. We believe in our mission of Preparing Today’s Students to be Tomorrow’s Citizens, however, it will take all of us working together, to do so. I am hopeful and optimistic that we are heading in a positive direction; to get back to the strength of our families and a kinder, happier world for our students.  They deserve better and it starts with us, all of us, working together.

We will embrace the smiling faces of our students as we open our doors on Thursday, September 7th.  We hope to see many of you at our Open House on Wednesday, September 6th from 5-6pm.  Students in grade 7 will have an opportunity to walk the building and their schedule during their orientation that same day (Wednesday, September 6th) from 4-5pm.  Thank you for your continued help and support. Be well and we look forward to seeing you soon.