In the past seven years, the Bethlehem Central School District has seen some big changes, and this year will be no different as board of education president James Lytle steps down this week.
Lytle, who originally came to Bethlehem in the 1983 to work with then-Gov. Mario Cuomo's administration in Albany, has been the board of education president for the past two years, during which time the district got a new superintendent and a new elementary school.
Originally appointed to fill a spot on the board in 2002, Lytle's interest in school board politics didn't only stem from his work with the state's Legislature it actually followed him from Rochester, where he grew up.
Frankly, the idea of being appointed to a board in the first instance seemed like an ideal way to get there," Lytle said. "My father served on a school board when I was in junior high school and I was our school's first student school board representative."
After having two baby girls, Lytle said he and his wife decided to stay in town.
"Honestly, I suppose my wife has corrected me on this, I'm not sure it is fair to say that we picked our house because of the fact it was a good school district because at the time we weren't sure how long we would stay," said Lytle. "But we certainly stayed here in a large part because we knew it was a good community and the schools are a large part of that."
Usually the Bethlehem BOE would vote in a new president each year, but Lytle remained at the helm as the school went through some transitions over the last two years.
"I think the feeling might have been there was a lot of discontinuity with a new superintendent and a new administrative team," said Lytle. "It really was a great honor to serve a couple of years not only as a part of the selection of the new superintendent but to also be able to support him in his first year."