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Valley Journals

Principal Lambson awarded Education Leader of the Year

May 08, 2017 03:43PM ● By Aspen Perry

Principal Afton Lambson, Lincoln Elementary. (Afton Lambson)

By Aspen Perry  |  a.perry@mycityjournals.com 

Principal Afton Lambson was awarded Education Leader of the Year by the South Salt Lake Mayor’s Office in April. Lambson was recently moved to Spring Lane Elementary in Holladay.

“I was surprised and humbled to think about the many people that make our work at Lincoln (Elementary) possible, from parents to community partners who are so gracious… I felt it was a great honor for our school,” said Lambson.

“There are so many dedicated educators in the South Salt Lake area who are so deserving,” Lambson continued.

Lambson is one of nine siblings who grew up on a 70-acre farm in St. Johns, Arizona, with a family who held education and a strong work ethic in high regard.

Lambson’s work ethic shows through to the teachers he works with, as Benjamin Peters, assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary said, “Mr. Lambson is extremely hard working and relatable to students, staff, and the Lincoln community. He is well intentioned in his work and strives to put students first.”

After watching five of his siblings start out with careers in education, only to leave shortly after, Lambson had originally planned to study medicine and become a doctor.

It wasn’t until he discovered a love for teaching while he was serving on a mission in Brazil, that he changed his college major to education when he returned.

“Although I didn’t always want to be a teacher, I look back now at the influence dedicated teachers had on me,” said Lambson.

Lambson has been in education for 14 years, three of those as the principal at Lincoln Elementary where he values the relationships he has built.

“I love the relationships with children and caring adults. Everyone has something to contribute. Learning is the hope of our families and our nation,” Lambson said.

In accordance with Lambson’s appreciation of those around him, some teachers in turn appreciate what he brings to the school.

“Afton is a kind person. He is very approachable and a good listener. He encourages collaboration, which has been very beneficial to our students and staff,” said Morgan Hunt, a second-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.

Much like teachers play many roles to meet the needs of their students, principals have many responsibilities in ensure the success of educating young minds. In addition to setting the standard as the instructional leader, Lambson explained it is also the role of principals to engage with the community and advocate for the various needs that arise within a school.

One example Lambson provided was in regards to the teacher shortage, which has been a hot topic in recent months with several news outlets reporting on the potential reasons Utah schools struggle with teacher retention.

Teachershortages have made it challenging to sustain growth as a learning organization, so we do our best to change the narrative about education and our school… we want more than anything to meet the needs of our community,” Lambson said.

According to Peters, the knowledge and dedication Lambson shows plays an important role in the way Lambson supports both students and staff.

“He asks a lot of his staff and students, but does so in purposeful ways so everyone can know the importance of their role at Lincoln,” Peters said.

Lambson described feeling grateful to be able to play a part in the success of Lincoln students, and feels his teachers are the “real champions.”

For Lambson, the ultimate reward is being part of the success of his students, as he said, “The best reward is that I get to be with beautiful, happy, intelligent children every day.”