By Alexis Aberman
Although students do not always have direct contact with their superintendents, Byram Hills’ superintendents do excellent jobs in maintaining the warm, successful, and high achieving academic atmosphere throughout the district. Early in this school year, Dr. Donohue, Byram’s current superintendent, announced that he would be retiring from Byram Hills School District. Community members were shocked to learn that Donohue, who has been committed to working at Byram Hills since 1990, will no longer be superintendent. Dr. Donohue will certainly be missed, and Byram students will particularly miss his ‘snow day’ phone calls! Fortunately, every end leads to a new beginning. Dr. Donohue will have the opportunity to be Headmaster at Columbia Grammar in New York City, and we will be welcoming Mrs. Lamia as our new superintendent.
Mrs. Lamia is certainly very experienced working in Byram Hills, as she has been within the district since she was only 21 years old! She has held many positions: middle school Language Arts teacher, which she pursued for 14 years; English Chairperson, a title she held for 7 years; and Assistant Principal of the high school, a position she had for 2 years. Mrs. Lamia took a brief hiatus from The Hills to spend 2 years living in Brazil, which she described as “super fun.” Evidently, Mrs. Lamia could not stay away for long, since she returned home to Byram Hills to take on the role of Assistant to the Superintendent. Following that, she became Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, and she is now soon-to-be Superintendent. It is undeniable that Mrs. Lamia is a treasured member of the Byram Hills community and her dedication is incredible. As she put it, “Let’s just say that I am committed to my roles in the district and the many challenges that have brought me to new positions!”
As Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Mrs. Lamia has a great amount of responsibilities. She explained, “Currently, I oversee all human resource functions, which include hiring, certification, training, labor relations, contract negotiations, and development of over 500 District employees. In addition to my work in human resources, I am the Dignity Act District-Wide Coordinator, District-Wide Emergency Planning Coordinator, Mentoring Coordinator, and Co-facilitator of policy development with the Board of Education and the Superintendent.” Even with all of these responsibilities, Mrs. Lamia still manages to maintain a close sense of community. She explained, “relationships with students have always been a top priority for [her].” She even went on to describe, “I know everyone by name and am proud of the relationships I have with our school employees. My goal is that everyone feels connected to Byram and responsible for its students, like I do.” It is clear that Lamia will be an excellent fit for her new role, as she is extremely experienced and thrives in the Byram Hills community.
There is certainly a lot to come for Mrs. Lamia: new responsibilities, new challenges, and new opportunities. In fact, being Superintendent is very different from her current position. When asked about some of these changes, Mrs. Lamia explained, “Important school-related issues that were always on the periphery of my thinking will now come into full focus, such as the impact of federal and state mandates on public education, community relationships, and the direction our District will take relative to other schools and the world outside of our campuses.” However, new issues will certainly lead to new and exciting opportunities. Mrs. Lamia revealed, “Knowing what students need and want is the foundation of the work we do. In my new role I am excited to sit on the rug in a kindergarten class or jump into a class in another school, just as I do now. I am also excited to watch Byram reach new milestones, as I am confident that our teachers have changed education for students and will continue to do so.” Perhaps even more exciting are some of the plans that Lamia has for the future. Although she acknowledges that having enough time to complete all of her goals is a challenge, Mrs. Lamia would like to keep a healthy pace in making some changes. She described, “We are currently looking to launch a new web-page, are implementing grants from the Education Foundation in all four buildings, and are continuously building our curriculum opportunities for students (Maker’s Spaces, Problem-Based Learning, new course paths at the high school – so much going on!).” Each of these ideas will be very exciting for the entire Byram Hills community, and Mrs. Lamia will serve as an excellent leader throughout it all. Despite any challenges that may face her, Mrs. Lamia exclaimed, “Every challenge at Byram is a new opportunity.”
The transition between Superintendents will surely be smooth, given that one fantastic leader will be replaced by another fantastic leader. As this school year is coming to an end, we wish Dr. Donohue good luck as he enters the next chapter of his career in education, and we welcome Mrs. Lamia as our new Superintendent. This will be an exciting change for the Byram community, and there is no one better suited to guide us through this change than Mrs. Lamia.