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This new Lula elementary principal finds joy in challenges
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New Lula Elementary principal Lynette Scheman began with Hall County Schools in 2001 teaching at McEver Elementary before transferring to Jones Elementary School as instructional coach. In 2004, Scheman moved Lanier Elementary, to teach and then become an instructional extension administrator. - photo by Scott Rogers

Lynette Scheman is not shy about taking on new challenges. Those butterflies she feels are just a sign that she cares.

“I was very nervous,” Scheman said about walking into Lula Elementary two weeks ago as the new principal. “It’s a whole new environment.”

But Scheman has bounced around enough, and taken on a number of different roles, throughout her professional career as an educator that moving to the top position at an unfamiliar school still felt right.

“I was given lots of opportunities along the way,” she said.

Those included teaching stints at Jones, McEver and Lanier elementary schools in the early 2000s.

Scheman taught kindergarten, first grade and fifth grade, and served as an instructional coach for K-5 students, before moving into leadership in 2013 as the assistant principal of Lanier Elementary.

“I always felt the need that there was more,” Scheman said. “I wanted to keep leading. And lead others to help students.”

When the Lula role became available after Principal Theresa London announced earlier this fall that she would be leaving the school district, Scheman said she reached out to her mentors, colleagues and administrative officials to express interest.

“One of my goals was to be a principal,” Scheman said.

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New Lula Elementary principal Lynette Scheman jokes around with third-grader Brock Gillespie, 9, Friday Dec. 7, 2017, as he checks out books from the library. - photo by Scott Rogers

And she wanted to achieve that goal here locally.

“I love Hall County and I don’t ever want to leave,” Scheman said.

Scheman said her first few days on the job this month have largely been spent trying to commit to memory the names and faces of students, their families, teachers and staff.

It’s a challenge that fits her naturally. 

“I’m a talker,” Scheman said. “I love working with people.”

Her husband, Nick, an assistant principal and Advanced Placement coordinator at Chestatee High, even jokes that the two could travel anywhere in the world and she’ll find someone to chat up, Scheman said.

When she became assistant principal at Lanier, Scheman’s peers went from colleagues to subordinates. 

All of the sudden, she was thrust into a position of evaluating those with whom she had been working alongside, and that could be difficult, Scheman said. 

But the challenge now is much different.

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New Lula Elementary principal Lynette Scheman drops by the school's media center Friday Dec. 7, 2017, as third-grader Madi Browning and classmates learning coding. Scheman began with Hall County Schools in 2001 teaching at McEver Elementary. - photo by Scott Rogers

“I knew absolutely nobody coming in,” Scheman said about Lula. “And they didn’t know me.”

But she’s been “impressed” with the welcoming she’s received, “like I’ve always been here. The community has been fabulous.”

And the newness of it all, despite her experience shifting gears, is still a challenge.

For example, she has to wake up earlier now. And her commute went from a minute or two to 45 minutes solid.

But she arrives each morning at 6:30 a.m. sharp to greet students and their families, Scheman said.

“I am who I am,” she added. “I live to see the kids every day. I’m not going to change. I’m going to blend.”

Scheman said that desire to blend includes connecting and partnering with the wider East Hall region. 

Students from Lula typically matriculate to East Hall middle and high schools.

The elementary school is the hub of a “tight knit” Lula community, Scheman said, and making sure it continues to serve that mission is essential.

Scheman said she is planning to host a meet-and-greet night with students’ families soon so that they “get to know me on a more personal level.”

“I’m here to serve and lead,” she added. 

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New Lula Elementary principal Lynette Scheman, right, and teacher Heather Welborn greet each other Friday Dec. 7, 2017, in the school's media center. Scheman has been principal at the school for about two weeks coming from Lanier Elementary where she was a teacher and then an instructional extension administrator. - photo by Scott Rogers
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