Educator of the Year ~ Cindy Wynne

Cindy Wynne’s career as an art educator actually began at a cub scout meeting. Although she was already enjoying a successful career as an award winning designer and art director, she realized that while her talent was to make art, it was her gift to work with young people. She went back to Buffalo State College where she had already earned her BS in graphic design, to earn her teaching certification and later her MS ed in Art Education. Her love for learning has recently led her to take post graduate classes online and at the University of Buffalo.

Cindy started her career at Grand Island High School in 1995, where, over the years she has taught classes in studio art, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, advertising design, fashion illustration and design, humanities, as well as creative crafts for non-art majors. She has also been the k-12 Art Department Coordinator, and sat on numerous committees including the NHS Selection Committee, PBIS, and new staff hiring. She believes strongly that all students deserve the chance to develop within their area of intelligence, and focus should be on providing a well rounded education.

For more than two decades, her Studio in Advertising students designed posters, programs and tickets for events such as Corporate Bowl (which she helped develop), the GISBA Magic Murder Mystery, and the high school musicals. Many of those students went on to successful careers in design as a result, while Cindy went on to produce the musicals Seussical, Beauty and the Beast and She Loves Me.

As the Art Club Advisor she has involved members in numerous activities including a NYC trip, Art Alive at the Albright Knox, and creative Relay for Life fundraising such as the infamous Cut Mrs. Wynne’s Hair competition, which left her minus over a foot of her long mane. Perhaps the most notable was the Art Club Haunted House, which began in the senior cafeteria before migrating to the Town Rec Department’s Community Center at the Nike Base. This joint venture led to the development of the Grand Island Recreation Department’s teen art studio, which she advises.

The GIHS Vikingettes Twirl Team and Color Guard began in 2007 when after over a year of lobbying, her oldest daughter and friends were told by the high school principal that they could start a baton twirling team if a teacher was willing to coach it. Although both of her daughters have since graduated, Cindy continues to coach the team who perform at various school and community events.

As advisor to the GIHS classes of 2010 and 2017, Cindy upheld many traditions and started some new ones. She led her class officers to find new venues for events, come up with unique fundraisers and create spectacular, memorable proms. At one point, she and her co-advisor convinced a few brave teachers and parents to help her run a sleepover event with close to 100 students at the high school.

A notorious volunteer, she has used her skills to help with various community and school events not only with her students, but her family as well. These efforts include work with Meals on Wheels, Relay for Life, Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier, PTA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the PAL Fine Art Awards to name a few. Cindy feels strongly that we are all given certain gifts, and we are called to share those gifts with others. It makes her so proud to watch as her three children continue this tradition on their own.

A proud graduate herself from the Grand Island High School class of 1979, Cindy (Lazarz) Wynne enjoys living a life full of activity, and creative endeavors. Above all else, Cindy loves her family. Her husband Rob of 27 years is her calm in any storm and she counts herself among the luckiest of women to have him in her life. Her three children, Jason, Molly and Beth are a constant source of amazement and pride to her, as are her grandchildren, Joey, Carmela, AnnaBella and Kenzie. And while she loves travel, excitement and a good scoop of ice cream, she is equally content in her tiny house, sipping a warm cup of tea.