Welcome Home, Mr. Hunter!

Get to know the new principal


Welcoming home a new principal, Mr. Michael Hunter, is one of the numerous changes Lyman has undergone in the past year. As he has only been here for a short amount of time, there is lots to learn about Mr. Hunter and his work. 

When getting to know Mr. Hunter, it is easy to notice his comical yet honest and diligent presence. Mr. Hunter thinks of himself as someone who has a commendable work ethic, sense of humor and lots of integrity. 

“It’s about doing the right thing when nobody else is looking, that’s the, kind of the cliche definition of integrity, and I really go by that,” Hunter said. “I pride myself in my work ethic, and how hard and how, you know, I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves. I love being able to walk the campus, I try to put in as many steps as I can during the day, because I want to see as many people, their eyes, eventually their faces, as I can during the day, because I think that’s important to kind of get out there, and be there.”

Mr. Hunter considers the current state of the school as a starting point, and is setting long term goals for students and faculty. He wants to ensure the school’s positive reputation only grows stronger as he evolves in his new position as principal. 

“I think Lyman is a great school, and I think it’s a matter of me continuing it on the trajectory that it’s going, and being able to see if we can take it to new heights,” Hunter said. “I think a lot of that starts in this role by listening and hearing what people’s thoughts are, and kind of getting an understanding of how I can help support us by getting to where we want to be.”

Hunter has big goals that involve progress in all areas of the school. He wants to see Lyman thrive collectively, giving opportunities to all students regardless of interests or hobbies. 

“I want to be the top performing academic, athletic, and artistic school in Seminole County,” Hunter said. “I want us to be the best school grade. I want us to have the best athletic results. I want us to be the most recognized artistic high school in Seminole County, and I think we can do that.”

In addition to encouraging a well-rounded institution, Mr. Hunter wants to give students a chance to have an enjoyable high school experience, especially since he feels his experience was limited during his school. Although he was captain of the football team, attended school dances, and had a diverse group of friends, he still felt his high school life was lacking. 

“I want to give back to people things that I didn’t get to experience,” Hunter said. “I tried to get the most out of my experience, but I honestly in some ways feel it was limited by my high school, and I wouldn’t want anyone ever to feel that way about their experience at Lyman. I want everyone to feel that they had a lot of opportunities, and the journey that they took was full of their choices. And they felt that they had every opportunity to have a fulfilling high school experience.”

It’s exactly the high school experience that makes Mr. Hunter loves his job as much as he does. The events that are exclusive to high school are his favorite part of his job, and he looks forward to seeing them every year. 

“Graduation is probably my favorite day of the year, as it pertains to my career. Graduation is outstanding. Being able to be at homecoming parades, being able to celebrate with students after they finish their last AP test, being with a kid the first time that they do well on the FSA, being with students when they get to celebrate the MPA performance in band, or that their artwork is being showcased someplace — those things are unique to high school and there is no other place in the world besides working in a high school where you get to experience that. The beauty of it is I get to experience it year after year, after year.”

Outside of work, Mr. Hunter enjoys hanging out with his wife and two young children, Avery and Miles. His daughter goes to school locally at Longwood Elementary while Miles attends Lake Mary Elementary. 

“He (Miles) does have special needs, so we’re a special needs family. He’s a little guy in a wheelchair who can’t walk or talk,” Hunter said. “So, we have a really different kind of lifestyle, but I love spending time with my family, it’s one of my favorite things to do.”

Family is the reason he ended up in Longwood after being born and raised in Detroit, as his wife is originally from Florida. After receiving an engineering degree from the University of Michigan, Mr. Hunter moved to California to work as an engineer, but eventually ended up coaching middle school track and football. This is when he discovered his love for teaching, putting him on the path that led him here. 

“After doing that (coaching) and finding it much more rewarding and much more fulfilling is when I switched over to being a teacher,” Hunter said. “That’s when I started as a high school math teacher, and I’ve been in education ever since.”

Since becoming principal, Mr. Hunter has had nothing short of an “amazing” experience. 

“My dream now is to remain principal at Lyman High School until the day I retire, whether that’s the way things work out or not, I don’t know,” Hunter said. “But if you asked me a few years ago, I would have told you my dream would be high school principal, if you asked me today, my dream would be Lyman’s high school principal for the rest of my career.”

cover photo by Skye Tiedemann