The Franklin County School Board last week hired a veteran teacher and reading coach as the new principal of the Franklin County School.
By unanimous consent, the board June 19 accepted the recommendation of Superintendent Nina Marks to hire Yvette Lerner, a former teacher in the district who now lives in Chipley.
Marks said there had been about two dozen applicants to succeed Eric Bidwell as principal, and that a committee of the Panhandle Area Education Consortium, including Franklin County’s Nick O’Grady, had whittled it down to five applicants. Four of these were interviewed, and Marks selected Lerner.
“I would like to express my support for the incoming principal of Franklin County Schools,” said Marks. “Mrs. Yvette Lerner has been a friend of Franklin County for many years, conducting professional development workshops to improve our mastery of curriculum. Faculty and staff are very familiar with her. Mrs. Lerner has the talent for enhancing programs and using her leadership skills to make learning more exciting for the faculty and the students they instruct. Bringing in Mrs. Lerner is a gain for Franklin County.”
Lerner, who is in Orlando this week receiving training on English Language Arts formative assessment tasks, said she was honored to have been named principal of the pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade school.
She taught second grade in Franklin County in 1985-86, after being hired by Janice Gordon at Brown Elementary School. “Two hurricanes, one tropical depression and a successful year of teaching later; I left to return to Washington County,” she said.
Lerner met and married the local Navy recruiter and taught in Washington County until 1990, when her first son Matthew was born. The family moved when the Navy transferred Lerner’s husband to Brunswick, Maine and they lived there for four years during which time Lerner’s second son, Christian, was born. From there the Navy sent the family to China Lake, California where they lived until 1996.
In 1996, Lerner’s husband retired from the Navy and the family returned to Chipley, her hometown and have lived there ever since.
Lerner returned to teaching but in 2003 became Washington County’s first reading coach. In 2004 she began working with Reading First, part of the No Child Left Behind legislation, and as a regional coordinator for Reading First was assigned seven school districts, including Franklin, where she worked with both Carrabelle and Brown Elementary.
She had the opportunity to teach at the college level, at Chipola Junior College and Florida State University, and said she found teaching at this level to be extremely rewarding but missed working with teachers and principals at the school level.
In 2010 she returned to Washington County School District as district literacy specialist. In this role she worked with all schools in the district and supported literacy coaches, teachers and principals as they moved the district initiatives forward.
Lerner will have to earn her principal certification, and is enrolled in a program led by the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium to enable her to complete the necessary requirements for the needed certification.