Frankfort High awards 56 diplomas at Friday graduation

FHS Principal John Lyons addresses the Class of 2018, June 8, 2018. (Holly McClurkin/holly.mcclurkin@state-journal.com)

After 4½ years at Frankfort High School, Principal John Lyons is stepping down to begin a role with the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board. 

In his tenure at the school, FHS has seen several areas of growth, including in standardized test scores, opportunities for students and the culture of the school, Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Houston Barber said during a Monday staff meeting at the high school. 

“I’m really excited about all the things we’ve been able to do during my time here at Frankfort High and I saw this as an opportunity to impact and affect more,” Lyons said on Monday. 

Lyons’ last day at FHS is Feb. 1. Though he is sad to go, he is excited to make a difference in the commonwealth, he said.

Lyons will have a meeting later this week to outline what responsibilities he will have with the state but will focus on the education side of workforce development, he said. According to its website, KWIB is an advisory board to the governor on workforce training and development. 

Before leading Frankfort High School, Lyons was an assistant principal at East Jessamine High School in Nicholasville and worked in that school district for 14 years. He previously was a math and social studies teacher and the athletic director in Jessamine County. 

Barber started in his role at Frankfort Independent Schools shortly before Lyons began his. Though the two did not know each other before working together, Barber said Lyons has become a “great colleague and friend.” 

“We lose a great principal who built a culture of excellence and it’s hard to imagine Frankfort High without him, but I think he’s built such a great foundation and he’s built capacity for growth and development and his leadership will continue throughout and allow us to really advance what he built,” Barber said of Lyons. 

Among the school's accolades, FHS was awarded a Gene Bottoms Pacesetter School Award in 2018, which is given to schools that use High Schools That Work Key Practices to change teaching and learning methods and motivate students to succeed in their post-graduate lives. At the time, Barber said the award was "really a testament of the work” that Principal John Lyons and his team had completed at the time.

In a Monday afternoon staff meeting at the high school, Barber outlined a transition schedule for the principal position. After Lyons officially leaves, Assistant Principal Craig Foley will be acting principal for two weeks until Feb. 14. 

Barber said former FHS staff member Tyler Reed will then begin as interim principal at the high school until June 30. Reed is currently the assistant principal at Paris (Kentucky) High School. The school district will begin advertising the job vacancy soon and plans to name a new principal by at least June 1. 

Site-based Decision Making Councils, which include teacher and parent representatives, select principals, along with the superintendent, who gets a vote. Barber said in the staff meeting that he would meet with the high school's student council about the principal search as well. 

As for the person who will next lead FHS, Lyons said that “they’ve got to love Frankfort High as much as the community and the alumni and students love Frankfort High.” The emotional investment and relationships found at the high school ultimately make it successful, he said. 

“This has been the most rewarding work that I’ve done in my 27 years in education, and I will forever consider myself to be a Panther from this point forward. It’s been an amazing run for us. I’m excited to see what the school does now going forward.”

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