Clarksville principal guides students on path to success - WSMV Channel 4

Clarksville principal guides students on path to success

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CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

One Middle Tennessee educator goes well above and beyond the duties of his job to make a difference by challenging and inspiring his students.

Andy Lyons, principal at Byrns Darden Elementary School in Clarksville, certainly knows his students, and his work with them has even taken him around the world.

He also knows where they need to go, and he is determined to make sure every student succeeds.

"A lot of these students don't have dads or male figures in their lives, so having a guy as a principal is cool," he said.

It's a bit of a game changer for some students at Byrns Darden, and Lyons said his decision to become a principal is deeply personal.

"I didn't have this when I was little, and I felt like I missed that. When given the opportunity, I saw the benefits of investing in a guy who didn't have a dad - to be a positive role mode for them - and it is very rewarding," he said.

Lyons knows it's a community approach, so that's why he's started an on-campus mentoring program, matching volunteers with students in need.

Those volunteers include Quinton Patterson, who gives back his time to help students and said he also benefits from the experience.

"He's helped me to try and get on track to be educator and be as great as he is - just an amazing principal," Patterson said.

Lyons' work doesn't stop when the school bell rings. He mentors high school and college students and even takes groups of volunteers to Latin America - most recently Guatemala.

"We created a bakery for the girls and they sell it on way to school - any way to have a way of income coming in," Lyon said.

Mentoring at home and abroad, through his actions, Lyons teaches others what it means to serve.

Next up on his travels is a trip to Panama, where he'll lead a group of students on a construction project at an orphanage.

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