TEACHER OF THE YEAR … Evergreen’s Chris Lyons sits in the band room with the kind of instrument that started it all for him. Mr. Lyons played the trumpet. Through his enjoyment of playing music, he decided to go to school at the University of Toledo for Music Education. (PHOTO BY JACOB KESSLER, STAFF)
By: Jacob Kessler
Evergreen’s Chris Lyons has been selected as the American Legion Department of Ohio’s Educator of the Year for 2022.
Mr. Lyons is currently the High School and Middle School Band Instructor as well as the Director for the Evergreen Marching Band.
Lyons was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. There he attended Toledo Start High School before moving on to the University of Toledo where he graduated in 1991.
He and his wife Claudine have been married for 28 years and have two sons. His journey at Evergreen though starts even before attending classes at UT.
“I was good at playing the trumpet. I didn’t really have a plan set out, but I thought, I’m good at this so I’ll take a swing at it in college, and it ended up working well,” said Mr. Lyons.
Following his graduation from UT, he was contacted by a guidance counselor at Evergreen named Chellie Wagner.
Her husband was one of Mr. Lyons teachers in High School, and she contacted him to let him know that a job was available as Band Director.
The position was originally only for one year as a substitute, due to the current Band Director being on maternity leave.
Mr. Lyons took this opportunity and went in for an interview and was given the position. “I went in for the interview and they offered me the job.”
“I was there only a short time when they made it clear they wanted me to stay.”
During his first year at Evergreen the band was comprised of 13 students. By the time 2010 and 2011 came around, there were over 160. Now in 2023, there are still over 100 students in the class.
“It’s times like right now that I have to remind myself how well these kids perform now versus when we started.”
“Part of that is how much better I have gotten as an instructor. The kids were very well and able then but now, with me being better, these kids are ready to perform.”
“Not only that but I am blessed to have such great associates working with me. The kids are playing at such a high level now and at this point, as they get better, I get better.”
When speaking about his time at Evergreen, Mr. Lyons also could not thank the community enough for their support.
“I would like to think that we are making an impact and that the community values what we do. I always hope that we serve the community well and I hope that we have been able to become something our school and community is proud of.
“The community especially has been very supportive. There has always been great turnout for concerts and events. They have always been there to support us.”
Throughout his 31 years of teaching at Evergreen, many changes and surprises have taken place along the way.
Being awarded Educator of the Year in the whole State of Ohio though was something Mr. Lyons found surprising.
“When we found out I was pretty surprised. When I really think about it and how big Ohio is and how many counties are in it, I’m not sure I am teacher of the year even in just the music department. I do what I can with the gifts I have.”
Lyons continued with, “Number one is that it is humbling. I really think that part of the reason I am recognized is because we have a group that is out in the public eye a lot.”
“We have a whole bunch of teachers in this school system that deserve every bit of recognition. I do get a bit of peace from this though. A feeling that I must be ok at this.”
Mr. Lyons has been able to accomplish numerous things during his time at Evergreen. Through all that time, the one thing that means the most though is the experience each student is able to have during their time in class.
“I really still enjoy seeing so many different kids and what they are able to accomplish. To see their strengths, personality and what they are able to bring to the table.”
“Somehow, they all come together and afford me the opportunity to teach the way I want to teach. I can be myself.”
“I don’t have to worry about discipline problems. I respect them and I am blessed. In turn this helps to make their experience better too. I hope they are satisfied with that.”
Jacob can be reached at email@example.com