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Lendrum to end 24-year run on Norwalk school board

Cary Ashby • Updated Aug 17, 2019 at 6:48 AM

John Lendrum’s great run as a member of the Norwalk school board is coming to an end.

The 1976 Norwalk High School graduate has decided not run for re-election. He is completing his sixth term, having served Norwalk City Schools on the board for 24 years.

“I decided not to file a petition,” Lendrum said Friday. “After 24 years, it was time to take a break. … After 24 years, it’s easy to get complacent with what you’re doing.”

He said his decision wasn’t based on a lack of support or not getting along with someone, but he simply decided “it’s time to take a break.”

“It’s been a great experience and I would encourage all parents and caregivers to spend time in the schools,” added Lendrum, who added it’s “amazing” what teachers and educational assistants are doing with students and technology each year.

“We have great teachers in the classroom and super support staff.”

Board president Lisa Wick has appreciated the wisdom and knowledge Lendrum brought to the district.

“He’s going to be a big loss just because of his time with the district and knowing the ins and outs,” added Wick, who said people will miss Lendrum more than they realize.

During his 24 years on the school board, Lendrum has seen many changes within the school system.

He was elected to the board just before the voters passed the levy to build Norwalk High School on Shady Lane Drive. Also during his six terms, Main Street Intermediate School, which formerly housed NHS, was remodeled and opened for fifth- and sixth-graders. League Elementary also underwent some renovations.

Lendrum was on the board when the district elementary school buildings transitioned from neighborhood schools to specific grades about six years ago.

“My first superintendent was Virginia Poling,” he said.

Over the course of 24 years, Lendrum worked with four full-time superintendents and one interim: Poling, Wayne Babcanec, Dennis Doughty and George Fisk. Will Folger was the interim for about a year before the board hired Fisk.

Technology has been the biggest change that Lendrum witnessed in Norwalk. He said there used to be very few high-tech classrooms and now it’s rare to see one without a computer or a hand-held device.

“Technology has transformed education,” he added. “It makes a big difference.”

Despite not being on the board in January, “I fully intend to support the school in various projects,” Lendrum said.

Wick, retired NHS and Norwalk Middle School teacher Duane Moore and Jeremy Norris, a veteran and local business owner, are running for the two open board positions.

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