Norma Lynch is going back to school. And she can’t wait.

“It will be fun to be back in the schools again with the kids laughing in the halls and the cafeteria smells,” Lynch said.

Lynch is the newest member of the Baldwin County Board of Education after her appointment on Jan. 4 representing District 5, the coastal area of the county. Her district includes Orange Beach, Elberta, Fort Morgan and Ono Island.

Lynch, a real estate agent with RE/MAX, will complete the term of Angie Swiger, who resigned her seat on Dec. 5 in the wake of Gulf Shores voting to form an independent city system. Swiger resides in Gulf Shores.

Lynch was one of three candidates for the position interviewed on Jan. 4. The others were Charity Hudson of Elberta and Fort Morgan resident Steve Martin. All three were nominated at some point during the meeting but failed to get the required four votes. On the fifth nomination, her second, Lynch garnered the votes needed from board members David Tarwater, Tony Myrick, David Cox and board President Cecil Christenberry.

“We very much welcome Mrs. Lynch and look forward to the outstanding leadership qualities and wealth of expertise that she brings to the table,” Christenberry said. “We had three highly qualified individuals to interview, which speaks very highly to the county in which we live.”

Lynch started her tenure by planning visits to the schools in District 5.

“I’m going to see the campuses, take a few minutes to sit with the principals and say ‘tell me about your campus,’” Lynch said. “I think that those principals are key in any school. I think if you have an incredible leader, an instructional leader in those schools that take very good care of instructional time, give the support to teachers that they need.

“Clear the path of every obstacle so that teachers can teach and kids can learn, and that is our job.”

It’s a role she understands well after serving at every level in education, from kindergarten to high school administration, in North Carolina. She retired in 2010 and moved to Orange Beach, where she continued to have a hand in education.

“I tend to have a lot of dialogue with young families at my church, Orange Beach United Methodist,” Lynch said. “When they have questions about schools or teachers I’ve always tried to stay very involved with those young families and help in any way I could.”

Lynch says her role in education will now be much broader and relishes the opportunity to learn more about the county’s diverse needs.

“I look forward to the work, I look forward to learning about the big picture of Baldwin County,” she said. “As a representative for District 5 I know that I’m out there trying to do what I can to make things as good as they can be in District 5 and, at the same time, having to realize Baldwin County is large and fast-growing and all that growth is not here.

“We’ve got to look at the big picture and at the same time make our district people happy. That will be a challenge to me.”

Not relishing a jump into the political arena kept Lynch from trying to serve in the past, she said, but an opportunity to serve without running a campaign appealed to her. She’s keeping an open mind about running based on her experience on the board between now and the next school board election in 2020.

“I won’t say I won’t run when the time comes,” she said. “I will say that my hope is that I’m happy in the position, the people in District 5 are happy with the work I’m doing and it will just work itself out.”