Addison Northwest SD Office
Lynne Rapoport, Addison Northwest School District's health and wellness coordinator, was beaming with pride when we caught up with her last November at the Vergennes Elementary School. The school staff and the Principal were all engaged in playing a variety of outdoor games and were thoroughly enjoying themselves. This event, billed as "adult recess", was organized by Rapoport and her wellness team leaders. "Lynne makes people feel better in all of our workplaces," said Matthew DeBlois, the school's Principal, as he continued tossing bean bags.
"I have the best job ever," Rapoport said. "My daily focus is on best practices supporting the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community Model. I also oversee PBIS, Restorative Practices, substance abuse awareness and prevention, school gardens, universal recycling programs, health education, data collection and analysis. I got my start with the schools when my son turned five and I offered to help cut vegetables in the kitchen," she said. "Following this, I was asked to write a grant requesting Farm to School funds."
"Lynne is the definition of wellness," said Robyn Newton, the Vergennes Elementary School's physical education instructor. "She is such an active person and promotes a healthy lifestyle for others. Her positivity is what shines through no matter what. Her eagerness to take on hard challenges and be flexible as well as engage with everyone around her makes everyone want to join in and be healthy."
"Lynne is always thinking about our staff and student wellness and constantly suggests innovative ideas about how to improve our district's wellbeing," said Newton. "She sets up our district staff wellness activities and participates in many of them. She meets regularly with nurses, physical education teachers, guidance counselors and health teachers to ensure we are doing all we can to teach our children the health curriculum with fidelity. She updates our district's wellness policy and educates the staff about it. "
"Outside of the school district, Lynne promotes wellness throughout Vergennes, serving on the town's recreation committee and the swim team organization. If there is anything in our community going on around health and wellness you better believe Lynne organized it or will be seen joining in the activity" added Newton. "The town's recreation committee members oversee the Veteran's Park, the ice rink, the tennis courts and recently hired a half-time recreation coordinator," Rapoport said.
Rapoport grew up in Redding, California. As a young adult she came to Vermont, seeking a bit of a new adventure. "I was smitten with the state and stayed," she said. "I have now been here for 20 years and love living and sharing in the small community of Vergennes." "Health and well-being have always been a focal point for me," said Rapoport. "I have a Bachelor's Degree in Dietetics and Food Administration. I have spent most of my adult life absorbed in connecting with community and raising awareness around self-care, prevention and well-being. Whether related to food, exercise, mindfulness, connecting with others or just finding joy in the everyday - it is important to keep balance."
"I love physical challenges, and a little friendly competition especially if it is outdoors," she added. "The last challenge I completed was a 50-Day Hike Everest Challenge. I find my happy place when on a hiking trail, especially when pushing myself. I find when spending time outdoors I am able to calm my mind and process life more clearly."