BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Union High School Board of Directors has appointed a new principal for Brattleboro Area Middle School.

Keith Lyman, who is currently the principal of Twin Valley Middle School, has been named the new principal at BAMS.

Current BAMS Principal Ingrid Chrisco announced earlier this year that she will be retiring in June.

Lyman, 39, grew up in Townshend, graduated from Leland & Gray Union High School, and has been the principal at Whitingham Elementary, and Twin Valley Middle School since 2010.

"I love it here," Lyman said about his decision to settle down in Windham County where he grew up. "We are very entrenched in the community and are making a long-term commitment to work here and raise a family."

Lyman lives in Vernon with his wife and two young children.

He said he discovered his love and passion for education while doing one of the other activities in his life that he loves: Playing baseball. While attending Mitchell College in Connecticut, where he was playing on the baseball team, Lyman said he became interested in physical education. After leaving Mitchell he applied and was admitted to Springfield College in Massachusetts, which has a strong physical education program.

He graduated in 1997 and worked a few years outside of education. In the fall of 2002 he became the baseball coach and athletic director at Leland & Gray.

"It really rekindled my fire and gave me a passion to teach," he said about his return to Leland & Gray. "I wasn't making a difference in anyone's life when I was just working. When I was coaching I saw that I could have an impact on students' lives. I loved it."

As much as he said he loved working with student athletes, Lyman also said he enjoyed the administrative aspects of running the sports programs at Leland & Gray. He was at the school for eight years before he enrolled in the master's program at University of Vermont and received a degree in education leadership in 2009

"Every year I spent at Leland & Gray I got more experience and more of a passion to get into school leadership," he said.

"We really feel lucky to have someone like Keith," said BUHS Board Chairman Robert Woodworth. "He's one of those people who seems to have an electric air about him. He's very enthusiastic."

Woodworth said the school received a lot of interest in the job, and Lyman's application quickly rose to the top. He was one of two applicants who received a final interview and was strongly endorsed by the members of the screening committee, which was made up of teachers, administrators, employees and board members. While the board was not looking for someone from Vermont, Woodworth said it will benefit the school, the board and the children to have someone familiar with the state's educational system.

"It's one thing to know the ABCs of administration, but you can tell with Keith that he will always put the needs of the kids first," Woodworth said. "The board is very pleased with the way this has gone."

Lyman said working closer to home was one of the main reasons he applied for the job at BAMS.

With a 3-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter at home, Lyman said it is going to become increasingly important to attend his children's events at school.

"I'm very excited to be at BAMS. Mrs. Chrisco has set up a great system there. There is great collaboration among the teachers and I am excited to be a part of that," Lyman said. "I like to have a good influence on people. If you are doing something you enjoy it is easy to be enthusiastic."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.