A new chief: Longtime educator takes top job at Lakeland

New superintendent Marc Wyandt stands in front of Lakeland Junior Senior High School.

Lakeland School District welcomed a brand-new Chief to their campus last month and he’s ready to lead.

Marc Wyandt, 44, of South Abington Twp., became Lakeland’s new superintendent. He replaces former superintendent William King, who left the district in September.

While a new face at Lakeland, Wyandt is no stranger to education. The Old Forge native has been in education for 18 years, holding a number of positions within Abington Heights School District.

“I was fortunate to have fulfilled a lot of positions in the district that gave me a fantastic perspective,” he said. “I’m thankful every day for that perspective because it helps me in doing this job.”

After receiving his undergraduate degree from Mansfield University, Wyandt began his career at Abington Heights in 2003 as a history teacher.

“Building those close relationships with a group of students, that was just something that I thoroughly enjoyed,” said Wyandt.

Aside from wanting to build strong relationships with students and support students, Wyandt became a teacher because of his own positive experiences with teachers at Old Forge.

“I know the impact a teacher can have on someone, that inspired me. Education was a profession that I could be good at and find rewarding,” said Wyandt.

Wyandt wanted to challenge himself more on a professional level and make a bigger difference in the lives of students, so he went back to school. Wyandt received his master’s in educational leadership from Wilkes University and his doctorate from Immaculata University in 2019.

Over the years, Wyandt has served as assistant principal at the Abington Heights High School, building principal for Clarks Summit Elementary, Waverly Elementary and Abington Heights Middle schools and the assistant superintendent of the Abington Heights School District.

Wyandt’s move to Lakeland was a new opportunity. Wyadnt wanted to be a superintendent and what drew him to Lakeland was the school’s strong sense of community and their proximity to him, allowing Wyandt to be active in the district.

Wyandt learned valuable lessons that he carried to his new role. The most important is always treating students with respect and taking an interest in their lives.

“It didn’t matter if the kid was in first grade or a senior in high school,” said Wyandt. “If they knew you were interested, invested and cared, they would care about school, reciprocate that respect and ultimately be more successful.”

Lakeland’s business manager Joe Caputo noticed Wyandt’s penchant for fostering meaningful relationships with students and his leadership skills.

“He truly is all about the kids,” Caputo said. “He’s going to provide the best opportunities for our students. I’m excited to see what Lakeland’s future is going to be for our kids under his direction.”

But the new role doesn’t come without difficulties. Not only did Wyandt begin the new career at Lakeland mid-year, he has grappled with how the COVID-19 is affecting education. But where some may see challenges, Wyandt sees opportunity.

“We all got in the business of education to help kids and they have never needed us more than they do right now,” he said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to help them.”

The new superintendent’s experience with education, especially during COVID-19, is something Caputo found helpful.

“He’s familiar with the processes and procedures,” Caputo said. “So, when he got here, he was just making sure he had all the information in front of him and we were continuing to follow that process.”

Wyandt kept two elements of navigating pandemic education in mind: the safety of the community and the importance of an in-person education. One of his short-term goals is to improve the ways Lakeland is reaching students during the pandemic while doing their absolute best to protect the community.

“We’re going to continue to improve our safety protocols, find creative ways to reach kids — which our teachers and counselors are doing each day — monitor the numbers and communicate that effectively,” said Wyandt.

Caputo echoed similar goals about keeping students safe while continuing to provide students with an in-person education.

“We’re trying to do what’s best for students and give them the best educational opportunity, that’s first and foremost. We’re all about the kids, that’s why we’re in this position,” said Caputo.

As for long-term goals, Wyandt hopes to ensure that Lakeland is a place of growth and learning, focusing on three major pillars of education: instruction, opportunities and community, while tackling the financial burdens that COVID may leave behind.

“I’m not pessimistic about the future by any means,” said Wyandt.