Principal Mary Lyons to Retire in 2022

A Look Back at her Time at PHS and Her Thoughts on Retirement

Evy Douglass , PHS PaperClip Staff/Writer

Principal Mary Lyons will be retiring from her position at Portsmouth High School (PHS) at the end of this school year. After working as the principal since 2015, she is ready for the next chapter.

Lyons is retiring with hundreds of fond memories as principal. Some of her favorite memories were watching students thrive in and out of the classroom. Whether it was watching a team win the championship or watching them lead a student senate meeting, she loved watching students at PHS enjoy extracurricular activities. 

Charlotte Leatherman, a sophomore at PHS says of Lyons’ time with students, “ I will miss her engagements with students. She really showed her dedication at the student council senate meetings, and it will be missed by all of the representatives.” 

Lyons had many fond memories, but also faced many challenges. With the size of the school, Lyons felt it difficult to communicate with everyone and be aware of everything going on in the school. Communication is a huge part of working in a school, with over a thousand students in the school, plus teachers, it is hard to get everyone on the same page. 

Lyons is glad that her “happy accident” of becoming principal happened. She originally was only an interim principal (a principal who is hired as a principal for a short amount of time) who hoped that experiences with older grades in the school district would help her become superintendent. 

After working for years in the education industry, she is excited to have extra time to spend with her grandkids. They live farther away, so her more flexible schedule in retirement excites her. Lyons is also looking forward to her morning walks that no longer have to happen at 5 am anymore. 

Lyons’s advice for the new principal coming in is to listen to the students and staff. Lyons says, “He or she would never be disappointed in putting students in leadership roles.” Lyons believes that students should have more of a say in what happens in the school and allowing students to voice their opinions truly allows the school to become one big community. 

Lyons believes that our school really is a community where everyone has their place. All freshmen will find some group to hang out with and everyone is very inclusive. Lyons understands the new students’ fears but believes that with the programs the school has set up, they should have no problem fitting in. 

Lyons hopes that PHS in the next five years continues along the path that the school is already going, offering all levels of classes so that every student is challenged. Something that was always in the back of her mind was the fact that school is not just about the academics, but about the whole growth of the kids. She feels that a way to assist the growth of the whole student is to have dentists, doctors, and other mental health offices accessible at the school. 

Lyons wants to leave PHS and the community with the idea that the school really is “one big family” and we should treasure that with everything we have.