Good Talk: Mr. Lyons

Get to know NASH's American History and Foreign Policy teacher, who has a reputation for roasting students daily!

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Carli Leonard, Staff Writer

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for 24 years. 23 years at NA and one year at Columbiana School District in Ohio.

What is your favorite part about teaching at North Allegheny?

I absolutely love being in the beehive of human activity. All the moments from walking into school conversing with a colleague to exiting the building sharing a laugh with a few students are what truly make the job special. 

What is your favorite memory from your time teaching at NA?

I had the fortunate opportunity to hand the diploma to my oldest son, Tommy, during the graduation ceremony. I knew it would be a really special moment, but it actually still brings a smile to my face when I think about it today. I look forward to that same opportunity with my youngest son, Matt.

If you could have dinner with one famous person who would it be?

It would be a toss up between Thomas Jefferson, Roberto Clemente, and Mark Venezia. For Jefferson, I have questions about the Declaration of Independence, Monticello, and some of the paradoxes of his life. Clemente was always a humble hero to me, since he was one of the greatest Pittsburgh Pirates of all-time and an even better humanitarian. Finally comes Mark Venezia and everyone should know why he is on my list.

What is something you have never been able to do well that you wish you could?

This is an easy question to answer: do anything musically inclined. I cannot sing or play an instrument, let alone dance. I can barely even snap my fingers.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Another easy one. I would like the healing power of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. As I get a little older, things start to hurt a little longer and a little more. I would love the ability to rub my hands together and heal myself with a touch. 

If you could take one book, movie, TV show, and a music album with you to a deserted island what would they be? Why?

My book would be Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin because Lincoln is such an intriguing historical and human character. I never wanted the book to end because it was so well written. The movie I would take would be Caddyshack because I still laugh at it despite seeing it many, many times. The TV show I chose would be M*A*S*H because it makes you laugh but also addresses many issues about being human. Lastly, my music album would be The Joshua Tree by U2 because the music and the lyrics never get old.

Have you looked up to or been inspired by anyone either in teaching or life in general?

I have always looked up to Mr. Mooney because he is taller than me. I have always looked up to my parents as incredible role models. My mom was one of the first woman to graduate with a business degree from Duquesne, and she runs a flower shop and greenhouse. My father started as an accountant and worked his way up to an executive position before retiring. They have given me so many opportunities through their hard work. I cannot thank them enough. 

In one word, how would you describe remote learning for you personally?

Different. I really miss the daily human interaction with students and peers, but this is reality. We are learning a lot of online tools and techniques that will be a great complement to our teaching when we return to the classroom. 

How have you spent your free time while being in quarantine?

I love being engrossed in history. I love reading The Economist and Foreign Affairs, as well as the new Jim Mattis book, Call Sign Chaos. I also love movies, and I may have been the last person to get around to seeing the Harry Potter and the Marvel movies.

If you could give any advice to your students while they are stuck at home, what would it be?

Stay active and break up the day to do something different every hour. One thing I have done is to try to reach out to one person every day to reconnect and share a laugh. It has really has made a difference.