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7/24/2013 2:00:00 PM
GSB Graduate To Lead School
Central Lincoln County School System Superintendent Steve Bailey congratulates new Great Salt Bay Community School Principal Kimberly Schaff. (J.W. Oliver photo)
Central Lincoln County School System Superintendent Steve Bailey congratulates new Great Salt Bay Community School Principal Kimberly Schaff. (J.W. Oliver photo)
By J.W. Oliver

Kimberly Schaff, a 1984 graduate of Great Salt Bay Community School and staff member since 1994, will now lead the school as its new principal.

Schaff was the unanimous choice of the Great Salt Bay School Committee following what Superintendent of Schools Steve Bailey described as a rigorous and thorough candidate search and interview process with about 12 to 14 applicants.

Schaff attended Great Salt Bay for grades 3 to 8 and returned as an educational technician in 1994 before becoming a teacher and, most recently, the assistant principal and special education department head.

"I'm not sure there's another situation like this," Bailey said, where a graduate of an elementary school returns as an ed tech, continues her education, becomes a teacher, joins the administration and advances to principal.

"Talk about both commitment to and knowledge of an institution, as well as a community," Bailey said.

Schaff is "a learner" who is "extremely, passionate, committed [and] dedicated" to the school and has a strong connection with and knowledge of the community, staff and students, Bailey said.

She is also highly knowledgeable about special education and supervision, he said.

Schaff, meanwhile, is excited to lead the school that has had a profound effect on the direction of her life.

"In many ways, having been a product of this school as a student and then as an educator, as an ed tech, all the way up, shaped me as an individual," Schaff said. "I've been passionate about wanting to give back to this community in all the ways that it gave to me."

"[Former Principal] Jeff Boston and I had a wonderful working relationship and a great mentorship, but when this opportunity opened, I knew I had to take that leap of faith and see if the school community and school board would want to have me in that leadership role," Schaff said.

"I'm grateful that they have given me this opportunity," she said. "It's exciting."

Schaff's family moved to Damariscotta in 1978.

She attended Lincoln Academy for a year after graduating from Great Salt Bay and before the family moved to northern Virginia, where she completed high school and a bachelor's degree in public administration.

She returned to Maine with her family when her father retired in 1993 and began a job as an educational technician at Great Salt Bay the following year.

She resigned for a year in 2000 to earn her teacher's certification and returned to Great Salt Bay as a long-term substitute in 2001. She soon became a full-time teacher.

She was a fifth-grade science and social studies teacher at the time of her promotion to assistant principal in 2008.

She taught sixth-grade math for her first two years in the administration before leaving the classroom to take on the responsibilities of special education department head.

Schaff holds a Master of Business Administration degree, a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership and a Master of Science in Education degree in school leadership.

A former resident of Damariscotta and Nobleboro, she now lives in Harpswell.

In other hiring news, the school system hopes to find an assistant principal to succeed Schaff before the beginning of the school year, Bailey said.

The school committee also approved a contract for health and physical education teacher Joshua Onorato.

Onorato has been a physical education and special education teacher at Spurwink Services and a health and physical education teacher at Telstar Middle School in Bethel.

"It seems like he's coming to us with some well-rounded experience and he was the unanimous choice of the committee as well," Bailey said.

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