Lisa Wallin can look at education from both sides of the classroom door because she is a teacher and a parent.
Her vision is further expanded because she holds dual-district loyalties.
She is a faculty member in the Ashland district and a resident of the Boyd County district, where her children went to school.
And now she is a member of the Boyd County Board of Education and will use everything she has learned as a parent and teacher to help guide Boyd schools through the next four years.
“We’re excited to have Lisa on the board. I’ve known her and her kids for a long time ... she will bring a unique perspective to the board of education as an educator from a different district,” Superintendent Bill Boblett said.
Wallin was sworn in at Tuesday’s board meeting. She was elected Nov. 3 for a four-year term that starts in January but will take her seat immediately because she was appointed to fill the remaining two months of the term of the late Judy Nichols, who died in September.
Wallin is the librarian at Ashland Middle School. She is retiring in May after 27 years in the district but isn’t ready to walk away from education and said a run for office had long been on her bucket list.
She is intensely loyal to both districts. “I told Bill (Boblett) this is almost like coming home. I graduated from Boyd County High School in 1977 and my kids went here. Boyd County put my children on the right path ... Ashland gave me so many opportunities. I was a classroom teacher, instructional coach and now librarian. Ashland has always been my happy place,” she said.
Wallin came to her profession later than most. “I didn’t graduate from college at 22 and go straight to the classroom. I was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years. At the time I had no desire to be a teacher. But I did classroom volunteer work and I thought, I could do this. It was like a revelation to me,” she said.
She got her first job as a long-term substitute at 34, teaching social studies in the classroom next to the one where Nichols was teaching the same subject. She learned much from Nichols, she said. “Judy was stern, she had high expectations, she had rigor, but as long as (students) worked to meet that rigor she was very fair.”
One piece of Nichols advice she particularly recalls: “Never argue with a middle-schooler in the classroom. Ask them to step out in the hall, and then their whole behavior changes, they lose the attitude.”
Her late entry into teaching after years of parenting and volunteering has enabled her to see issues clearly from both sides. “Sometimes parents don’t see the viewpoint of teachers, and sometimes teachers forget the viewpoint of parents,” she said.
She plans to bring her perspective to the board. Her children are grown and have careers, so she has no personal agenda, she said. “Now I want what’s best for the children and the school and the community.”
People frequently ask her what she does when Ashland and Boyd County face off across an athletic field.
“I’ve gone through that my whole life. I usually sit on one side and visit, and then go sit on the other side and visit,” she said.