2013-08-02 / People

New principal named at St. James School

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

Nancy Naimey Nancy Naimey KENNEBUNK — Nancy Naimey, educator and, more recently, administrator, was recently hired to replace Patricia Berthiaum as principal at Biddeford’s St. James School, part of the Good Shepherd parish.

Naimey, who has lived in Kennebunk for 30 years, just finished a two-year stint as assistant principal at St. Augustine School in Andover, Mass.

St. Augustine had approximately 452 students, while St. James has 155.

Naimey worked as a sound designer in the Boston area after college before moving to Kennebunk with her husband, Steve. After taking time off work to raise three children, Naimey decided that she really did love working with young kids.

She was near 40 when she decided to get her elementary certification.

“I went back to school and got my certification and then started working at Consolidated,” Naimey said. She then continued her schooling and earned a Master’s in Literacy and a certification in Advanced Study and Educational Leadership—a post-Master’s program that typically lasts two years.

“I did not know at the time that I wanted to do administration. I just loved teaching,” Naimey said.

Naimey began teaching at Consolidated School in Kennebunkport in 1999, and she stayed until 2011. While there she taught kindergarten through third grade.

“I decided to take an intro to administration class,” Naimey said. “In that class they gave us different scenarios of things that might happen in a school setting and asked how we would deal with them,” said Naimey.

“I found it so interesting; I’m a life-long learner. That class piqued my interest: maybe this is the direction I want to go in. Instead of making the change in the classroom it would enable me to make the difference for the whole school. It was exciting and invigorating,” Naimey said.

Naimey also served as the Consolidated representative and helped found Trust Our Children — the partnership between kindergarten through fifth-graders and the Kennebunkport Conversation Trust.

“Trust Our Children has been is a great service to the community. We are currently trying to close the gap between the younger students and those in middle school and high school so that everyone is able to be a part of our projects,” said Leia Lowery, Kennebunkport Conservation Trust education coordinator.

As a life-long Catholic, Naimey said that she enjoys the freedom of being open about her faith in a school setting.

“It was interesting at St. Augustine to have that mix of being involved with students and the school, my love of education and then to also embrace my faith,” Naimey said.

At St. Augustine Naimey helped found a leadership team comprised of fifth through eighth graders. It centered on a green initiative, similar to the Go Green initiative she helped to start at Consolidated.

“They’re two different schools and the make-up of the school kind of makes up what will work. I try to work with what each school has to offer,” Naimey said.

At St. James, she said, “I’ll be meeting people and seeing what’s important and where things need to go. It may not be either of the previous directions, but we’ll just have to see what’s there.”

“As far as teaching goes: there are good teachers everywhere. What’s different about a Catholic school is it teaches a bit more of the whole child. It really encourages the child’s moral compass, developing those pieces and really work on them,” said Naimey. “Not that public school doesn’t teach lampRecyclePrintAD_that. It’s just more ingrained

5.16x4.ai 1 7/1/ and it is pervasive in every piece of the day at a Catholic school.”

The first time I sneezed when I was in a Catholic school all the teachers turned around and said ‘God Bless You,’ and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s strange you wouldn’t hear that in a public school.’”

In preparation for the open house in September, Naimey is offering free tours of St. James any time to anyone interested.

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