Lyle D. Fox died on November 9, 2020. He was my first Principal at North Allegheny Intermediate High School when I was hired in 1976. I was just 23 years old, and I was one of many young teachers on the staff. In some ways, Lyle was like our dad. He was all about Education and being the best one could be. Although stern when he needed to be, Lyle had a great sense of humor, and his administration and our staff had many fun times at picnics and parties.
Lyle was a military man before he became a teacher. He was a man to whom one gave respect. Just by the way he carried himself, and with his strong physical presence, a person knew that Lyle was a man who knew himself and where he was going. I was chatting with him in his office a few times when an unruly student was brought in, and Lyle handled disciplinary issues with fairness and an open mind. Although no one ever wants to be sent to the Principal's office, the punishment is easier to take when one knows his side will be heard.
When I first met Lyle, I remember him telling stories about all the jobs he performed for the fledgling North Allegheny Joint Schools, which had just become a new district. Lyle taught Physical Education and coached the very first North Allegheny teams in Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Track and Field. As if all those jobs were not enough to keep a person busy, he also was a bus driver and the custodian for the building! Thinking of all he did for the school district, it is difficult to create a realistic number of students whose lives Lyle impacted over those 35 years. Five classes a semester of 30 students each is 150, then add in the same number for second semester. Think of how many kids played on each of the teams, plus the team managers and team assistants. Add in the kids from study halls and the kids he knew from driving the bus. I would have to guess that Lyle impacted many thousands of students in his 35 year career.
As a principal, Lyle held his staff to his own high standards. In our last exchange of emails, Lyle asked me if any of "his people" (the teachers he hired) were still working. It is a great man who takes such ownership of his decisions. Lyle was both loved and revered by "his people." In fact, that love inspired this post.
I remember when I became Varsity Girls' Golf Coach in 1978, and Lyle told me that I would come to love coaching even more than I loved teaching. Of course, he was right. In fact, I can't think of when Lyle was wrong or unfair during our years together in the building. He always had an open mind and an open heart, and he listened with both. I am just one person who is a better individual because of Lyle's influence on my life.
Rest in Peace, my old friend and mentor. Know that your influence will be felt for years to come, as others pay forward the life lessons you taught them.
Thank you. Lyle, for friendship and guidance through the years.
If you would like to know more about Lyle D. Fox, the following is what Lyle's daughter, Becky, wrote on the North Allegheny Facebook page. He was quite a guy.
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