Educator is positive influence

February 17, 2001

Educator is positive influence

Editor's note: This is the final in a weeklong series of stories profiling members of the black community who are making contributions in the Tri-State area.

By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

Lynne Holcomb-Gober doesn't want to be thought of as an African-American making a difference.

"I want to be looked at as a person making a difference," said the assistant principal of the Alternative Learning Center.

The Alternative Learning Center provides educational and therapeutic services to about 55 students in grades six through nine who have shown an inability to perform successfully in their home school.

Gober said her job is to have a positive influence on all students who attend the school, even if it means using "tough love."


"A lot of them look at me as an assistant principal, but I think they also look at me as a friend," Gober said. "I think they know I care.

"I'm firm with them, but we interject laughter into the day, and we cry a lot, too."

Gober said the school provides incentives for students to do well, such as handing out rewards or holding events. She said it's important for the students to be part of a caring school environment, because in many cases that aspect is missing from their home lives.

"We try to make it respectable. That's what the kids need," she said.

She also credits her staff for devoting their careers to the same cause.

"A school is as good as its leadership but, without the staff, the principal is on an island by themselves," Gober said. "I've got one heck of a fine staff."

Gober was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Virginia State University with the intention of being a scientist.

She later attended Howard University for her master's degree in teaching. She has taught in Calvert County, Md., and Washington before becoming an administrator.

She is married to Leslie and has two children, Kristopher and Kaitlynne.

Gober said she enjoys working at the Alternative Learning Center and plans to continue influencing as many children as she can.

"If you can help somebody, then your living is not in vain."

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