Anne Lyon looks back on 22 years of teaching music at Bennett County

By Marj Frew

Teaching music comes natural for Anne Lyon. Her musical journey began at the age of seven, when she started taking piano lessons in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Under the guidance of her piano teacher, she was soon giving piano lessons to her own students during her junior high years. She also accompanied the local church choir, and played for mass at an early age.

Her journey has taken her to many schools, and as this school year comes to a close, she will retire from the Bennett County School District after 22 years of inspiring future musicians. 

Her formal education includes a Bachelors Degree in K-12 Music Education and Elementary Education from Chadron State College, followed by a Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

She has continued her own musical growth through professional development and being a member of the Black Hills American Orff-Schulwerk Association for many years, holding a variety of positions within that organization.  

She has also used her teaching skills by presenting information at professional development conferences in both the music and technology fields.

As a young mother, Anne taught music part-time in Dawes County Rural Schools, near Chadron, as well as Mirage Flats School in Sheridan County, Nebraska.  She also substituted at Chadron Public Schools in her early career.

She continued to develop her teaching skills at Loneman School, in Oglala, S.D., in 1994-95; followed by two years at Crazy Horse School, in Wanblee.

Her 22 year career at Bennett County Schools began in 1997, starting with teaching K-12 Vocal Music, along with Martin Grade School, Central, and Riverside Elementary Schools, covering all schools at the same time.

Throughout the years, with changes in the school schedule, and classroom needs, her role evolved to teaching K-3 Music, and K-5 Technology at Martin Grade School.

“I’ve taught several of my own grandkids, which has been nice. It’s a treat that not everybody gets,” she noted. “I have also had students who are children of former students, that’s always fun!”

One of her favorite parts of teaching music and technology is that she has a wide variety of classes and ages of students. “I love it when I hear students walking down the hall humming, or singing in the lunch room, or when students want to sing a song from music class in their regular classroom.”

The favorite time of year for her has always been Veteran’s Day, and teaching the students what it means. Taking students to contests has always been special, too. 

“I have always had good support from the teaching staff if I needed help,” she remarked. While looking back at the many photo albums from school activities, the favorites were those that included other teachers, and seeing the older students as they grew throughout the years.

With her retirement, Anne plans to “Do what I want, when I want! That’s what I keep saying!” She and her husband, Jerry, will continue to live in rural Bennett County. Her musical career will continue as an accompanist at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which she plans to do for as long as possible.

Even though she will not be teaching next year, she is looking forward to seeing former students as a substitute teacher, and being a member of the audience and enjoying the musical performances at school.

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