Lynne Paju is a woman of many talents and interests. Her wide range of experience has led her to a successful career as a special education teacher at Franklin County Tech where she combines compassion and expertise to guide her students toward fulfillment and success.
A native of Colonie, New York, just outside of Albany, Lynne is the daughter of Bill and Marilyn Paju. Her father worked in the computer department at the State University of New York Albany; Lynne’s mother worked for Boards of Cooperative Educational Services of New York. Lynne has two sisters, Susan and Terry, and one brother Bill.
"I was interested in political action and as a senior did an internship for a semester at the state capital with the state chapter of the National Organization for Women.”
Following her graduation in 1980 from South Colonie Central High School, Lynne went to college at SUNY Plattsburgh.
“I went into political science and women’s studies,” she said. “I was interested in political action and as a senior did an internship for a semester at the state capital with the state chapter of the National Organization for Women.”
After graduating from college in 1984, Lynne moved to Western Massachusetts, and has lived in a number of places in Hampshire and Franklin counties. Her first job out of college was as a counselor in a residential treatment center run by the Northampton Center for Children and Families. She worked at this job for three years, and then enrolled in a year-long outdoor leadership program at Greenfield Community College.
“I was interested in looking at therapeutic adventure work,” Lynne said.
After leaving GCC, Lynne worked in the treatment program at the Center for Adolescent Resources in Holyoke as a supervisor. She stayed with the program for three years before making a change to public health with the Family Planning Council of Western Massachusetts.
“I’ve built many boats and taught classes in boatbuilding. My fantasy would be to integrate that here at Franklin County Tech.”
“There was a lot of money available at the time for tobacco issues and I started a program on tobacco treatment,” Lynne said.
At the same time, Lynne learned woodworking on her own. This led to a job in a woodworking shop, but she found that it wasn’t financially viable. Although Lynne did not make woodworking a career, she developed a passion for building cedar-strip canoes and kayaks.
“I’ve built many boats and taught classes in boatbuilding,” she said. “My fantasy would be to integrate that here at Franklin County Tech.”
While at the Family Planning Council, Lynne became interested in combining education and counseling, which she considers her strength. She continued her work in public health when she joined the Literacy Project.
“I ran the health literacy program for several years and had other roles there as well,” Lynne said. “I started teaching and eventually managed the Pioneer Valley Adult Education Center.”
"“I was delighted to get an interview and be offered a job. I’m really happy to be here.”
After eight years with the Literacy Project, Lynne moved on to the Valley Opportunity Council’s adult education program in Chicopee, where she stayed for six years. While there, she began to think seriously about getting her master’s degree and becoming licensed as a special needs teacher.
Lynne earned her master’s degree in education this past December through Fitchburg State College.
“I applied for a job at Franklin County Tech because I heard good things about the school,” Lynne said. “I was delighted to get an interview and be offered a job. I couldn’t pass it up. I’m really happy to be here.”
Lynne explained that she likes the school’s support system and its positive and professional climate.
“I’ve always liked working with young people,” she said. “I’m good at making connections with people and not being judgmental. A lot of people need support. I like working with these kids and helping them realize they can be successful. Barriers aren’t always about education and can instead be about what else is going on in their lives.”
Lynne has settled in Northampton with her partner Susan and their dog River. In her spare time, she likes to canoe and go kayaking, as well as hike and participate in other outdoor activities. Lynne also enjoys the great restaurants and abundant culture that’s offered in the Pioneer Valley.