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CLOSER TO HOME NEW CHIEF AT DISTRICT'S HELM FORMER PRINCIPAL DESCRIBES HER POSITION, COMMUNITY AS A `GOOD FIT'.

Byline: KAREN MAESHIRO Staff Writer

LAKE HUGHES -- A former Lancaster School District principal and administrator has taken the helm of tiny Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union School District.

Sandra Lyon, 45, started work last week as the new superintendent-principal of the one-school, 400-student district tucked in the foothills between Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley.

``I feel very fortunate, and I'm just glad to be here and looking forward to a great year,'' Lyon said. ``From the test scores, they are doing a great job. We have to keep the ball rolling.''

Lyon lives in Lake Elizabeth and will be close to home.

``Every time we've driven by here, my husband said, `Wouldn't that be a great job?' -- so now I have it,'' Lyon said.

Lyon was picked from among 15 applicants to replace former superintendent Dean Bentley, who after only a year on the job resigned in June to take a superintendent job in Bakersfield.

Trustees approved spending $4,000 to hire a superintendent search firm that specializes in working with small school districts.

``After interviewing and a lot of deliberation, we decided that she was the best fit for our district in terms of personality, passion and background,'' board president Lola Skelton said.

``She's going to have somewhat of a learning curve but she has just so much that we felt she could just take us a step further,'' Skelton said.

Lyon's contract is for two years and she is being paid an annual salary of $110,000.

Lyon first taught at Quartz Hill High School before moving over to the Lancaster School District, where she worked for 17 years before retiring in 2004.

She was a teacher, then served as assistant principal and principal at Nancy Cory School and co-principal at Amargosa Creek Middle School. For a few months before retiring, Lyon was director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

She then took a job with an educational consulting company called Thinking Maps and helped to train teachers in writing instruction.

``It was a lot of time traveling. I wasn't prepared for that. I was gone for most of the week to Fresno and Sacramento,'' Lyon said. ``I missed being at a school.''

She then saw the Hughes job advertised in a publication for school administrators. The opportunity interested her because she would be closer to home and could spend more time with her two high school-age sons.

``I saw this and it seemed like it was in my community. I could be more plugged in. I hear nothing but great stuff about the staff and school,'' Lyon said. ``From the minute of the interview and when I met the staff, I felt this would be a good fit.''

Lyon has a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Francisco State University, a master's in curriculum and instruction from California State University, Bakersfield, and an education administrative credential.

Her husband, Paul, is a teacher at Palmdale High School. Their two sons attend Lancaster High School.

karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com

(661) 267-5744

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(color) Sandra Lyon, 45, is the new superintendent-principal of Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union School District.

Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 11, 2006
Words:522
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