James Lytle steps down as Bethlehem Board of Education president

Lytle was a part of the selection committee that conducted a nationwide search for a new superintendent before deciding on the district's own Michael Tebbano. It was a decision, Lytle said, that has seemingly paid off.

"Michael Tebbano made it clear from the get go that it wasn't going to be more of the same and he has been a great leader for the district," said Lytle, adding that he very much respects former superintendent Les Loomis' 21-year career at the district as well.

Lytle is a lawyer for a national firm with an Albany branch that is involved in representing entities heavily regulated by the state and that also does some lobbying work at the state Capitol. He said his legislative experience has helped him on the board, but that he wasn't exactly prepared for everything that comes with a school board seat.

"It was harder than I thought it would be," Lytle said. "There's a lot of information you have to digest, and honestly it was a little harder to sit up there at the meeting and cast your vote for or against something when there were people in the audience and people in the community who felt strongly about an issue."

Lytle said it is the parents whohold the Bethlehem school district to a high standard and make it so strong.

"The reality is one of the reasons we have a good school district is because we have parents that care so much about their kids," he said. "That, ultimately, is something we don't want to discourage."

Looking back, Lytle said he was particularly proud of initiating the district "Character Achievement Awards," which the BOE gives to students who exhibit strong character through their academic and athletic achievements.

"The awards are meant to go beyond the athletic and academic superstars," he said. "Students who just actually do reasonably ordinary things in the course of the day, which when you look at them under the right light could be extraordinary."

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