Educators fill an important role in our children’s lives, helping shape who they are and who they will become in the future, from supporting them academically and emotionally to providing them with guidance to decide their future careers. It’s not a mystery that it takes a special type of person to work in education. Lynn Alkire of Portage High School is just that kind of person, handling all of the associated logistics of education.
Alkire is the Assistant Principal at PHS, making sure that the entire process of raising the next generation into intelligent and hard workers is a smooth one. Alkire is hands on with her job in countless ways including: helping students take exams, observing classes, creating a master’s schedule for classes, and interpreting class data to ensure the classes are as efficient as possible. Alkire makes sure that PHS is a well-oiled machine, ensuring the continued education of thousands of eager students every year.
Born in Indianapolis, Alkire’s family bounced around a lot when she was younger, following her dad’s career in the Army before settling in Portage when she was in 5th grade. Alkire is actually following in her father’s footsteps: after finishing his career in the Army, Alkire’s father became a guidance counselor and eventually assistant principal of Portage High School himself. Alkire attended Indiana University’s Bloomington Campus for her undergraduate degree after graduating from Portage High School, and obtained her master’s from what is now Purdue University Northwest in Hammond.
Alkire loves being able to make a difference in so many different ways.
“I like to be able to affect the big picture of school,” said Alkire. “I feel like it’s my job to set things up in an efficient and positive way for the teachers, so they can do their job, which is to educate the kids. If I do my job right, then things run smoother for them.”
This is Alkire’s 16th year as an assistant principal, and she doesn’t deal with many students one-on-one anymore, at least not in a disciplinary capacity. However, she does work with many of the students athletes as PHS’s NCAA Compliance officer.
“I work with coaches and athletes and make sure they’re academically on the ball,” said Alkire of her job as NCAA compliance officer.
Alkire’s work as NCAA Compliance officer for Portage High School is no accident. Alkire was also a gymnastics coach at Lowell High School before her tenure at PHS and an athlete in high school, so the position of compliance officer for students wanting to go into college sports seemed like a natural one.
“One of the guidance counselors that we had here a few years ago was a coach,” said Alkire of her predecessor. “Well he ended up moving south. I told the ladies that were counselors here, ‘I was an athlete, I was a coach, this task seems to fit what I am passionate about and what I am capable of doing,’ so instead of assigning it to someone that wasn’t quite comfortable with that position, I just took it on.”
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a teacher,” said Alkire. “I think for one week while I was down in Bloomington I thought about changing my major. I went and visited a counselor at the school I was thinking of changing to, and they sent me back to education. They said, ‘You need to be a teacher.’ I taught for 9 years and I loved teaching, and then I felt like what fit me better is what I could do with working with the big picture for kids, that fit more in my wheelhouse of abilities.”
Alkire currently lives in Chesterton, where her 3 kids, Abby, Nick, and Jacob, attend Chesterton High School. Between her job and their lives, she doesn’t have a lot of spare time, but when she does have free time, Alkire loves to visit Garwood’s Apple Orchard in La Porte with her kids, and Chesterton’s European Market as well.
Often people see the visible, hands on-work that goes into their children’s education from the likes of the dedicated teachers and coaches that help mold them as a person. However, without people like Lynn Alkire supporting those coaches and teachers, their jobs would be much more difficult. Thanks to her, Portage High School runs like a well-oiled machine.