A Sad Day For District 281

A sad announcement came from District 281 yesterday…..

In Memoriam: Barbara A. Lehman

It is with great sadness that we share with you the news that Barbara A. Lehman passed away on Sunday, September 26 after a long battle with cancer. She was 66 years old.

Barb began her teaching career at Sandburg Junior High in 1967, then moved on to Plymouth Junior High for 20 years and Robbinsdale Cooper High School for 13 years.

All of us at Robbinsdale Area Schools extend our condolences to the Lehman family during this difficult time.

Barb has been recognized by many of the organizations she has come in contact with this past year, beginning with the renaming of the Cooper stadium in September 2009.  Since then, she has been the subject of recognition by her alma mater, The College of St. Catherine, and her high school, Derham Hall in St. Paul. Within the last two weeks, Barb attended a recognition event at Derham.

From the time she was a student at Derham Hall, Barbara Lehman knew her interest lay in teaching and coaching.

After graduating from The College of St. Catherine, Lehman began her teaching career at Sandburg Junior High in 1967, then moved on to Plymouth Junior High for twenty years, where she was voted “Best Teacher” by the students an astonishing 18 years in a row.

In 1988, Lehman continued on to Cooper High School as a coach for alpine skiing, basketball, speed swimming and girl’s golf.  In 1993 she was promoted to athletic director for the high school, a post she held for seven years before retiring in 2001.

During her tenure as the first female athletic director in the school’s history, Lehman developed high speed swimming programs and intramural programs for volleyball and basketball, spearheaded initiatives for improved facilities, and devoted much of her energy and time working for gender equity in high school athletics.

Shortly after her retirement, Lehman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which metastasized to her brain.  She continued treatment on and off for more than six years.

Lehman had been active in retirement, serving as Robbinsdale Area Schools’ wellness coordinator and consultant and coaching boys’ golf at Cooper until 2008.  She remained involved in the Minnesota State High School League and received a Special Merit Award from the Classic Lake Conference in 2007.

In 2009, the Robbinsdale Area School Board voted unanimously to rename the stadium at Robbinsdale Cooper High School after Lehman.  The dedication of Barbara A. Lehman Stadium took place on September 4, 2009 at the Cooper football home opener.

Barb Lehman was a true gem.  She will be greatly missed.  We also want to extend our condolences to her family.

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