Bethlehem board members retire

Dr. Stuart Lyman and Richard Svenson, both longtime and highly respected members of the Bethlehem Central School District Board of Education, are retiring this year.

Lyman was a member of the Bethlehem Central Board of Education since 1994 and served as board president from 2004-2007. He is a veterinarian at Delmar Animal Hospital and teaches large animal health at SUNY Cobleskill. Lyman and his wife, Jane, own Lyman's Sleighbell Farm on Meads Lane, where they raise sheep and Belgian horses, grow pumpkins and pick-your-own raspberries.

Lyman said he will miss the particular synergy he experienced when the board members worked together to come up with novel solutions to districtwide challenges.

After 13 years, it's hard to list accomplishments, but the tenor of the board and the relationships we have with each other is something rarely seen on boards, said Lyman. "We were rarely confrontational, but instead, cooperative with one another. Other boards fight among themselves, but we got the work done."

Superintendent Les Loomis called Lyman a board member with "vision and creativity."

"He would often raise questions that were full of insight and therefore moves us towards a better solution," said Loomis.

One issue Lyman pressed for during his tenure stands out as an example of the ripple effect one decision can make to the future design of school facilities.

"When we were going through construction of the high school prior to this one, it took me two years to convince the board we needed to move the tennis courts to the back of the school," said Lyman. "It seems so simple, but after that, we had the ability to put more parking out front. We wouldn't have ripped up new tennis courts to do that. It was input on one small thing; over time, you hope those small things add up to large changes."

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