RMMS Teacher, LEA President Retires

LEARN and its Regional Multicultural Magnet School Honor Retiring Educator, LEA Union President
Lynn Hancock

An inspiring teacher dedicated to all children and families; a beekeeper with an unending love of animals and nature; a great friend always ready for a road trip or to dole out some tough love; a keen negotiator advocating on behalf of all LEARN educators. This is Lynn Hancock.

Beloved by her students, colleagues, and administration, Lynn Hancock served 27 years at LEARN’s Regional Multicultural Magnet School in New London. Retiring on July 1, 2020, Hancock leaves LEARN as one of RMMS’s longest tenured teachers and the president of the LEARN Education Association (LEA), the union that represents the agency’s educators.

“Not only is Lynn a passionate teacher who worked tirelessly with students and families to help all  reach their potential, her work as a union member helped create a culture of continuous improvement through honest dialogue,” said LEARN Executive Director Kate Ericson.

Lynn’s career is intertwined with RMMS’s history. When RMMS opened its doors, Lynn was there. She began as a substitute teacher in 1993, earned her certification and became a full-time classroom teacher in 1995. Lynn profoundly touched the lives of countless students, serving as a mentor to fellow educators, and helping RMMS in its transition to becoming an International Baccalaureate School. She ended her career as a Grade 4/5 teacher, helping to prepare students for their transition to middle school.

Hancock’s legacy will not only be the students whose lives she touched on a daily basis, but the educators she so faithfully represented. From 2017-2020, she served as co-chair/president of the LEA. In her union role, she led contract negotiations on behalf of LEARN educators and worked with other chapters of the Connecticut Education Association to advocate for the needs of districts, teachers, and students.


Tributes to Lynn Hancock

Paulie Reed

Lynn Hancock is an RMMS life force. Her name is even on the building. She has worn so many different hats during her 25 plus years, it’s hard to know where to start. First a parent, then volunteer, next a teacher, mentor, coach, team leader, building committee member, hiring team member, science guru (affectionately known as the “critter, bird, and plant lady”), Teacher of the Year, LEA union rep, LEA Vice President, and President. Lynn has been a “go to” volunteer, listener, friend, supporter, and idea backboard, while continually being an out-spoken advocate for RMMS, its mission, kids, families and teachers. A natural teacher, Lynn teaches the “whole” child, by guiding, encouraging, and cultivating compassionate, life-long learners.

Lynn’s classroom was always a place of discovery chock full of snakes, hissing cockroaches, lizards, birds, butterfly larvae, plants, orchids, and visiting bees. Lynn delights in instilling and nurturing curiosity in her students about our incredible world through books, pictures, videos and hands-on, real life experiences. For more than 18 years, Lynn voluntarily stayed out the entire week at Nature’s Classroom, day and night, to help chaperone, thus enabling students to have one of their most memorable RMMS experiences. She even became certified by NASA to bring moon rocks to RMMS!

Might you need a covered wagon for the Westward Migration unit? Oh, yes, see Ms. Lynn. She built one. Is there a randomly dislocated bat on the wall at RMMS? Call Lynn. She provides free capture and release services. Do you want to chronicle the lifecycle of a butterfly or bee? Ask Lynn. She will do free show and tell. Are you not sure if RMMS has specific science equipment?  Seek out Lynn. She will rummage in the RMMS basement. Do RMMS plants need watering? Oh, Lynn does that too. Does the RMMS landscape need work? Lynn will collaborate, supervise and assist while pulling weeds on the side. So, we are doing an Underground Railroad Simulation? Any volunteers? Thank you, Lynn. By the way, teachers need costumes for the Colonial Fair. Approach Lynn. She made hers. Do you need a crazy hat for Spirit Week? Lynn will point you to her closet. Are you interested in watching a snake swallow a mouse? It’s right up Lynn’s alley. How about some fresh home-cultivated honey? Yup, Lynn. I heard there was a puppy found in the park at recess? Yes, Lynn adopted it. Do you need a union or contract question answered? That would be Lynn’s area. Oh, and if you want something like butterfly nets, hammers, duct tape, screwdrivers, extra cabinet keys, copies of books, mouse traps, eye droppers, Swiffer refills, or furniture sliders? Lynn will lend. 

Lynn Hancock has always gone the extra mile for RMMS, had the courage to ask the tough questions and to say aloud what many people are already thinking. What has RMMS been with Lynn Hancock? It’s been a stronger, purposeful, energetic, more honest and vibrant place where, as Lynn says, “We continually twist ourselves into pretzels,” to be more creative and inventive to meet the needs of our diverse population. What is Lynn Hancock leaving behind? An inspiring and indelible legacy. Thank you, Lynn Hancock! RMMS will not be the same without you.

RMMS teachers and students at Nature's Classroom
Stacy Pleau-Guckian

Lynn is one of the foundational cornerstones of RMMS. She put her life’s work into being an advocate for the students and the staff. Her dedication to RMMS as committee member/ leader, team leader, teammate, building representative, and union president are only some of the things she has accomplished. Her shoes will be difficult to fill. Her love of inquiry teaching and watching the lightbulb moments happen outweigh any educational challenges. I personally will miss hearing Lynn’s voice in the morning on the 4th floor. I will miss catching up with her at lunch. She is a great listener who offers sage advice.

 

Kristin Gemaly

 From the day I started at RMMS in 2006, Lynn was a mentor and a friend. She and I were teaching partners for six years, grade level teammates for 13 years, and she was my son's teacher for two years. He loved her and her passion for science.  She was always the person to go to for a straight answer or honest advice, whether I liked it or not. She is caring and thoughtful and was like a second mom to me in Connecticut. We spent many mornings, over a decade, talking about RMMS and life in general.  

 Her love of science is so engaging for her students and for me! Her students ended up loving science just because of her energy! 

 Her leadership in the union was also inspiring. She stepped into the position because she cares so deeply about teachers having a voice and speaking up. She inspired me to get involved in the union.  

 She is someone, even though she is retiring, I know I can always reach out to because that is just who she is. We love you Lynn!

 

Candy Bartsch

 Lynn was a parent, parent volunteer, and sub when I met her my first day on the RMMS campus. She graciously started the school year with my students while I tied up loose end at my job over at Child and Family.

 The first sentence speaks to Lynn's love of the school, her dedication and her wanting RMMS to be the best it could be not for the adults but for our precious children. Although she will long be remembered for her skills as a negotiator, she was also one of the best advocates for children I've met. She was always asking if what we were doing was equitable and fair for the children. She used the same drive in this endeavor as she did when wearing her union hat.

 She has a sharp wit that is laced with care and love for the school, the staff, and most of all the children.

 She became known to my 2/3 students over the years as the "Bee Lady," and it was a huge draw when they realized that she had all types of reptiles in her room. They loved moving to the fourth floor in hopes of being able to see "Ms. Lynn" and all of her science fun.

 One year, it was decided to do "bonding" at a camping retreat. Some of us fared better than other, but Lynn knew exactly what to do.

 She will be sorely missed by all. Lynn was always willing to listen, tell us what our options were in relationship to the contract and such, and was a wonderful resource for new teachers. 

She has earned her retirement. She is checking out but can never truly leave, as we say here at RMMS.

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