Lynn Kaylor, Flour Bluff ISD Public Information Coordinator, retired in January after faithfully serving the district for twenty-four years. Hired in 1992 as an administrative assistant to Leroy Dehaven and Carol Goodman, Kaylor began a job that allowed her to work where her kids went to school and have the same days off as they did. In those first days, she had no idea what her job would become when administration handed her the first of many tasks that changed the face of Flour Bluff schools.
Dehaven put Kaylor in charge of planning and executing the school’s 100-year celebration, which came with a homecoming parade. Being a King High School graduate, Lynn knew only a little about Flour Bluff from her husband Jimmy and his family and friends who grew up in the area. That quickly changed. During her research into the beginnings of the school, she interviewed many people whose families settled Flour Bluff or taught in the district in the early years. She collected memorabilia, listened to stories from locals, and became immersed in the rich history of a little community dubbed “Gateway to Padre Island.” Before long, Kaylor didn’t just live in Flour Bluff; she lived Flour Bluff. She was evolving into a Hornet! The transformation was so evident that people often asked her what year she graduated from Flour Bluff.
“Everybody thinks I went to school in Flour Bluff. They always want to know what year I graduated and are quite surprised when I tell them that I didn’t attend Flour Bluff at all. It’s just that I’ve been here so long, and I know so many people through my husband Jimmy, my kids, and all my contacts through work.”
The Public Information Office, created by former Superintendent Carol Moffett to advertise what was going on in Flour Bluff ISD, became Kaylor’s home base. There she performed a myriad of duties, which included handling all district media and publications, running the print shop, organizing special events such as Relay for Life, setting up the Hornet Spirit Shop, creating t-shirt designs, developing an employee wellness program, tending to student registration, working with all the booster clubs, maintaining the district website and social media sites, taking care of employee service awards, helping former graduates with their reunions, building relationships with local businesses, and anything else that no other department in the district managed. In her early days with the district, Kaylor used the school van to pick up kids to register for summer school if they had no way of getting there. “I just did whatever they asked me to do to serve the kids of this district.”
“Mrs. Moffett gave me this job along with a bunch of duties. I started visiting with Realtors, giving tours of the district to families wanting to move in,” said Kaylor. “I come to work every day with a mission, knowing what I need to do, and it rarely happens. Once I get here, I get a phone call to take pictures or meet with the media or set up tours. Even people just lost on the street who see ‘Information’ on this building come in to ask about city bus schedules and things like that. I would let them know that I didn’t have that kind of information, but I always try to help them by looking it up or putting them in contact with the right person.” Kaylor has also worked with law enforcement to give them information about former students and was once asked to provide old yearbooks for an investigation by NCIS of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.
Kaylor said that she faced many challenges during her tour of duty with Flour Bluff ISD. Her husband, Jimmy Kaylor, served on the local school board for many years, and some people often thought that she received special treatment because of that. “That couldn’t be any further from the truth,” Kaylor said. “If anything, it made my job harder because of other people’s wrong perceptions.” She went on to say that it even made it difficult to visit with a teacher about one of her children.
One of the biggest challenges, according to Kaylor, is “heading off the negativity from the media.” She explained that FERPA and privacy laws prevent her from offering some information that may be crucial to understanding the full story of a particular incident. “All I can do is sit back silently and listen to the rumors. I wanted to say ‘Let me tell you what really happened’, but I can’t. The media often reports just a part of a story that comes from something a person said, which sometimes shines a negative light on the teachers, administrators, and kids, which they don’t deserve.” Kaylor said, “I’ve made a lot of friends in the media, and I know they have to do their jobs. But, they can respect me, and I can respect them.”
“What I like most about working here,” Kaylor said, “is the diversity of the kids, who come from all kinds of backgrounds. The Navy base brings in lots of families from around the world, and we get their children who have been all over the world. Every student learns something through these military kids’ experiences just by going to school with them.”
“I also like the way we’re set up with all of our campuses on one block. In larger districts, there are feeder schools. Here the kids move from campus to campus and know about the buildings and the teachers and principals before they ever get there.” Kaylor explained how the students move with the same basic group of friends from building to building, play on the same teams, and get to work together, in some cases, from kindergarten through twelfth grade. “Everybody knows everybody else.”
One of Kaylor’s favorite projects is the yearly homecoming parade. “It’s been such a staple in this community, and it is a lot of hard work. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that has to be done ahead of time. But, when you’re standing down there that night lining up everybody and you see the kids all excited and the streets lined with hundreds of people watching, it’s great. It’s like a wedding. You work really hard to make it a memorable time for everyone, and when it’s over, you can finally relax.” Because Kaylor runs back and forth constantly checking to make sure that every float is in place and that nothing happens along the way, she has never been able to sit and watch the 24 parades she has put in motion. “It is so much work, but it is so worth it!”
Throughout her career, Kaylor collected anything pertaining to the school. “When I did the 100-year celebration, people brought in all kinds of things for us to display. They didn’t want it back, so I kept it. For many years, in the back of my mind, I had a vision for a school museum. I just felt we needed to put up a display of what we have and highlight the past. What other district functions the way we do? How many districts brought in an old aircraft hangar and made it into a gym? Nobody does that kind of thing.”
Kaylor has displayed many items on the walls of the building where she spent her career. It is the start of the Flour Bluff ISD Museum. Behind a locked door in the same building, pieces of Flour Bluff school history rest in boxes, on shelves, in filing cabinets, and on tables awaiting the return of a retired Lynn Kaylor who will finish out the vision. “When I’m digging through these old records and pictures and such, I get even closer to this school. It makes me feel like I grew up here. I just hope the district doesn’t grow so much that this room becomes real estate that they need for something.” Among the memorabilia is a collection of Hornet mascots, designed by Kaylor and drawn by Joungsik Chung, a local artist.
“When Coach Mike Crowe came in 1998, he thought we needed a more ‘intimidating’ Hornet. He, along with Mrs. Moffett, asked my help to come up with a new look that showed power and strength. That’s when I contacted Chung, and from there it’s history. We just kept making Hornet after Hornet to represent every activity, group, club, and organization of the district. I even have one of Elvis,” Kaylor said with a smile.
“I call Lynn Elvis because she is such a huge fan of Elvis,” said Flour Bluff Superintendent Joe Kelley. “And, like Elvis, her legend will live on in a positive way for many years to come. Her dedication to the kids of this District has been steadfast for twenty-four years and is greatly appreciated. She is a trusted friend and colleague, and I will miss our day-to-day interaction. I wish her the best in retirement.”
January 30, 2016, brought to a close Lynn Kaylor’s career with Flour Bluff ISD. “We plan on being in the community, and I am keeping my season football tickets. I’m never going to give those up. People know they’ll be able to call on me to help serve on committees or volunteer in the district; they know I’m not just going to walk away. I will still help with the Foundation for Educational Excellence, another thing I helped start. I want to continue to be a part of the community because I feel I still have something to contribute,” said Kaylor about how she plans to stay involved with the district.
Kaylor said of her replacement, Kim Sneed (resident of Flour Bluff with two children attending FBISD) who will use her skills and knowledge from working with the Corpus Christi ISD Office of Public Information to follow Kaylor’s lead, “She’s going to be great. She just has to put her mark on it.” There is no doubt that Lynn Kaylor left her mark on Flour Bluff ISD, a school she continues to love and serve in any way she can.
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day. She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.