Class Act: Assistant Dean of Students Lori Fryman

Get to know Assistant Dean of Students Lori Fryman!

Claire Seinsheimer

Get to know Assistant Dean of Students Lori Fryman!

Grace Randall and Alice Xu

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While teaching in public, independent and charter schools, Lori Fryman pioneered teen leadership classes and sponsored many clubs. When she applied for the Spanish teacher position at SJS, administrators decided she might be more than a Spanish teacher and placed her in the position of Assistant Dean of Students.

“I got so lucky,” Fryman said. “Things just sometimes fall into place. I’m so lucky that Señora Serrano called me in January to tell me there’s an opening and that the interview went well enough that I get to work at the most amazing school.”

Fryman grew up in Central Heights, Texas, a small town with nothing more than a taxidermy and a lawn mower repair shop. As a senior in high school, Fryman sprang at the opportunity to travel to Mexico on a mission trip with her church to help orphaned kids in need. 

“That was the point where I connected the classroom with the real world,” Fryman said. “There were all of these kids in the orphanage, and I had this skill and  power to show them love by speaking their language. There was a whole world out there that I had not been exposed to.” 

Ms. Almany, Fryman’s high school Spanish teacher inspired Fryman to teach Spanish. Whether it was sponsoring a club or attending a basketball game, Ms. Almany went beyond the traditional role of a teacher—she was actively involved in her students’ lives. Fryman’s love for Spanish was born in Ms. Almany’s classroom, prompting her to take more Spanish classes in college and eventually double major in Spanish and Psychology.

“Had I not had that really great experience with Ms. Almany in high school, I probably would not have pursued Spanish in college, which means I probably wouldn’t have become a teacher,” Fryman said. “What she did determined the rest of my life.”

After graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University, Fryman was set on going to graduate school and becoming a psychologist. However, an unexpected call from a friend encouraged her to take up her first teaching job as a substitute teacher, starting her 14-year career in education. It turned out to be a difficult experience.

“The biggest challenge when I was a 22-year-old teaching 18-year-olds was that they didn’t respect me,” Fryman said. “They saw me more as a peer than a teacher, and there were behavioral issues with that.”

Fortunately, switching to another high school was all it took to re-ignite Fryman’s passion for teaching. Her new students were well-behaved and enthusiastic about learning. This difference in attitude was what pushed her to cancel her plan to go back to grad school for psychology and instead pursue a career in teaching.

“That was the year that I fell in love with teaching,” Fryman said. “The kids were more eager to learn, and I didn’t have as many behavioral issues, so I really got to enjoy teaching. I put grad school off for another year, and then another, and then eventually I decided I didn’t want to be a psychologist anymore.”

Fryman continued on to study Spanish in Costa Rica while working on her B.A. She also went to Peru and Spain for a graduate school in hispanic studies. The program required her to learn another language, so she then traveled to Brazil to learn Portuguese. Now, Fryman’s goal is to go to every Spanish speaking country and understand each of their unique cultures. With hard work and determination, Fryman has already visited almost half of the hispanic world.