Lynette Zapp: Head of School

Recently contemplating retirement from education, Lynette heard about the Tergar School in Kathmandu through Tergar School’s advisor Sandra Fernandez, who says:

“The moment that Lynette heard that the philosophy of the school was basic goodness and that the curriculum would be rooted in the pillars of awareness, compassion, wisdom and joy, tears filled her eyes, and she said it sounded like a dream school that she had always hoped to be a part of.”

She was also drawn to the opportunity to help develop curriculum and mentor teachers in child-centered, experiential, integrated and applied learning was a perfect fit, being her modus operandi over the last 40 years. Still, the transition from Calgary, Alberta, Canada would not be an easy one and so she consulted her family, friends, and colleagues to find support. Since her husband, Greg, had just retired and her two sons were living independently, this was perfect timing to embark on a new professional, cultural and spiritual journey.

Lynette’s hire was unanimously approved by the Tergar School’s Advisory Committee who were thrilled to welcome her into the Tergar Schools family. The idea was specifically to hire an experienced Head of School to mentor and train a local Nepali principal to take over after she departs. To this end, the Advisory team met with Lynette and Mingyur Rinpoche in the fall of 2022 for a week-long work retreat to develop curriculum, discuss the development of the Tergar Schools, and to hire a Nepali principal for the school. Lynette also spent two weeks at the Tergar School Kathmandu, getting to know the faculty, administration, and support staff as well as the systems and flow of the school.

In December 2022, Lynette returned to Calgary where she encouraged local schools, colleagues and friends to donate books, manipulatives and other useful supplies. She also arranged opportunities for Canadian teachers to provide guidance for the teachers in Kathmandu via Zoom. Then in early January 2023, Lynette and Greg made the move to Kathmandu. During that time a new Principal, Roshan Dunghel was hired and began his collaboration with Lynette.

Highlights from Lynette’s time since arriving include

  • Establishing an ingrained sense of professionalism, intellectualism and cohesiveness amongst the faculty and staff
  • Standardizing weekly professional development sessions to provide valuable training in curriculum development, lesson planning, and classroom management
  • Mentoring the school support staff, who are integral to the children’s growth and wellbeing.
  • Implementing a new schedule for the school day which is more conducive to integrated learning of Tergar Schools.

Lynette spends much of her time in the classrooms with the teachers, currently focusing on literacy and active, hands-on, integrated learning. Before leaving campus each evening, Lynette and Roshan help the boys wash up for bed, and read bedtime stories.

Lynette has said that her goal is to create an environment where students flourish in awareness, compassion, wisdom, and joy, ready to take on the world.  To this end, the school is well on its way to fulfilling Mingyur Rinpoche’s profound vision.