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Lifelong Learner, Ben Lemons

Published online: Feb 06, 2024 Trends in Education Maudie Heard
Viewed 4585 time(s)

From the first time you step into a classroom to the day you walk across the graduation stage, you carry the impact of education for the rest of your life. The power of education shapes the future for children of all ages and backgrounds. It also allows educators to impact the world by inspiring students' creativity, helping them build new skills, encouraging higher education and most importantly, by being a mentor. 

What makes a great educator is someone enthusiastic, friendly, has their students' best interest in mind and someone who is committed to lifelong learning. This hits home for the principal of Riverview Elementary School, Ben Lemons. “I love to learn,” Ben said. “I think it's important to always try to improve yourself and improve your standing in this world.”

Before Ben was an elementary school principal, he was a principal in Rigby and, before that, a teacher at Bonneville High School. Through his 30 years of experience as an administrator and an educator, Ben has gained valuable knowledge and wisdom.

When transitioning from teacher to principal, Ben’s biggest motivation was wanting to make a difference. “I wanted to make a broader difference in the lives of not just kids, but teachers as well,” Ben said. “As a teacher, you make a really big difference in the classroom with your kids in your own four walls and as a principal, you make a difference with a large group of kids in all the walls of the school.”

Now as the principal of an elementary school, he has the world on his shoulders. 

A typical day for Ben begins with bus duty, what he considers one of the most important tasks of the day. “I want to be the one who starts their day off right,” Ben said. “With a kind word, with a hug and to be there to say, ‘I’m glad you’re here, I love you, you matter to me and let’s get something done today.’”

Following bus duty, Ben starts the school day with a good morning announcement and manner of the day from the hundred manners of the year. “I always start off with a shoutout. I find a group, a classroom or group of kids who are doing something really well and make light of that,” Ben said. “Then we do a manner of the day. I review the manner of yesterday and I do the manner of today. I’ll ask kids throughout the day, ‘What’s the manner of today? What are we working on today?”

After morning announcements are completed with the pledge, Ben visits each classroom. “The joy of me being a principal is my flexibility to be in classes,” Ben said. “I want the kids to know I care, I want them to see me as a lifelong learner and I want the teachers to know that I’m supporting them.”

Each day, Mr. Lemons makes it a priority to be active around the school and engage with his students and teachers—the qualities that make him such a remarkable role model. 

Making a difference in the lives of so many students is no easy task and especially not one that he takes lightly. “It’s a challenge to make your school with high academic standards and high behavioral standards and still a fun place to be at,” Ben said. “Administration and education is still about the three R’s; rigorous, relevance and relationships, but relationships first.”

Ben hopes to be remembered by his students as someone who loved them not just for the school year, but for a lifetime. “When my kids come back, even some Bonneville kids from 25 plus years ago will introduce me to their families and they’ll say, ‘Mr. Lemons, you loved and supported me when no one did. Thank you for believing in me and never giving up.’” Ben said. “And this is what makes me the most happy.”

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