Mrs. deLyra, Teacher Who Made History Exciting, to Retire


Mrs. deLyra

Grace Anne McKenna, Editor in Chief

How do you sum up a dedicated teaching career of over 30 years? Who better to describe Jennifer deLyra’s impact on her students than her colleague, Mrs. Harclerode?

“Wantagh High School is a better place because Mrs. deLyra was a teacher here,” said Harclerode.

Mrs. deLyra, a Social Studies teacher at Wantagh High School, is one of the five teachers set to retire on July 1. Mrs. deLyra teaches 9th grade Global History Regents and Honors classes. Due to her dedication, involvement, and unique teaching skills, Mrs. deLyra is known and loved by all.

“[Wantagh] was an excellent district,” said deLyra, a mother of four who began teaching in Wantagh in 1988. “I was living in the area, and I liked that it was a smaller district so that I could get to know all the kids.” She added that she was drawn to Wantagh because it is a “small community, very tolerant, and open minded.”

Mrs. deLyra has dedicated her time to Wantagh High School as well as to the community. When she began working at the school, she coached the varsity swim team and led them to three county championships. In addition, Mrs. deLyra has supervised sporting events and organized fundraising for various clubs including International Outreach, which she still advises today.

Mrs. deLyra is an extraordinary teacher, as well. “She is an innovative teacher who incorporates AP history in her lessons, making the transition to AP Euro smooth for her students,” said Ms. Jones, AP European History teacher at Wantagh High School.

Mrs. deLyra has a passion for the content of her Global classes as well as the wellbeing of her students. “She showed that you can make a difference in a student’s life by the day to day things you do for them,” said Wantagh High’s Social Studies Supervisor, Mr. Widmann. “Those small things work together to make a big difference in the lives of others and Mrs. deLyra made a difference in many students’ lives.”

Many Wantagh graduates concur. “I have such fond memories of Mrs. deLyra’s class,” said 2001 graduate Courtney Allison, a former Warrior editor in chief. “She was such a pleasure to learn from and made history so exciting and accessible.”

Rachel Creighton (nee Guerrera) , a WHS ‘06 grad, said, “There was no better role model than (Mrs. deLyra) for a young female student looking to figure out her way in the world. I cannot thank her enough for her guidance and mentorship.” And Rachel found her way as a Notre Dame grad, standout lacrosse player there, and now business owner in suburban Philadelphia.

“She always finds ways to breathe life into her global history class and make it relevant to her students, whether it be through new technology, current events, or life experiences,” said Ms. Magnuson, an English teacher at Wantagh High School. “She loves her students and is deeply invested in their well-being.”

“She was not only an amazing teacher; she cared about her students and I could go to talk to her any time,” said Brianna McCartney, previous student of deLyra’s and executive officer of deLyra’s International Outreach Club.

While Mrs. deLyra is known for her magic in the classroom, she is even more appreciated for her personality and attitude toward others.

“She’s one of my favorite teachers,” said Meghan Kirk, a previous student of deLyra’s and executive officer of deLyra’s International Outreach Club. “She knows how to make me feel better when I’m upset or angry. She’s just so zen and calm.”

“I can always count on Mrs. deLyra to get me to go for a walk on the beach or to take a hot yoga class,” said Ms. Jones. “I am lucky because we live in the same town so I plan on seeing her often.”

In her personal life, Mrs. deLyra raises a large family. “She raised four beautiful, successful kids [who] all played college lacrosse. She has been married for over 30 years to Ted deLyra,” said Mrs. Harclerode. Mrs. deLyra also swam at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont.

“Mrs. deLyra was devoted to two things in life, teaching and her family,” said Widmann.

As Mrs. deLyra welcomes the next chapter of her life, she is able to take the memories she has created in Wantagh with her. “The people I have worked with for the past 30 years have been amazing and many of us have gone through life lessons together,” said Mrs. deLyra, adding that she hopes her students remember her as firm, fair and friendly, which is her philosophy on education.

“I am going to be a grandma and travel,” said Mrs. deLyra on her retirement plans. “I may teach at a small private school.”

Her colleagues and her students agree that Mrs. deLyra was one of their favorite faculty members.

“I met Jenn deLyra when we were both young mothers 29 years ago,” said WHS Principal Breivogel. “Since that time, Jenn has remained a popular teacher, and senior member of the Social Studies Department. She epitomizes the woman who can do it all.”