By Joseph Pratt
By working 25 years in education, a teacher is rewarded the opportunity to watch a generation of students grow from being curious five-year-old children to thirsty young adults, ready to leave their marks on the world. They might even get to welcome another generation of students, parented by their past students.
New Boston Elementary School Principal Diane Chamberlin has witnessed this type of experience and is proud of her achievements as she looks to retire in the coming weeks. Her decision to say goodbye was a hard one, but done to allow her the time to put more focus on family life, since her son will be having a baby any day now.
“I consider myself blessed to have two families. I have my family and I have my second family with New Boston Local School District. It has been a tough decision to retire. Now that is is actually happening, saying it our loud makes me a little emotional,” Chamberlin said. “I love children and I love working with children. I am going to help with my grandchildren, but I am used to helping with 320 Tigers.”
The upcoming baby girl isn’t Chamberlin’s first grandchild, but she is just as excited to welcome another member to her family nonetheless. She hasn’t made official moving plans, but said she will likely move to Cincinnati to be closer to her son’s family and the baby.
“My son’s work schedule is sometimes out of town, so I’ve decided to go up there and help with the baby,” Chamberlin said. “I really hate to leave, but I am also looking forward to being able to help raise my grandbaby.”
Chamberlin said what she believes defines New Boston Local Schools is the pride and sense of family everyone feels for one another, which is making the decision to leave hard. She said she is comfortable knowing her shoes are being filled by a competent friend, however.
Christy Dever has been hired as Chamberlin’s replacement. Dever has a 26 year history in education and has been a member of New Boston management for 16 years.
“Christy has been here for some time now and knows the school system well, and everyone is comfortable with her,” Chamberlin said. “She will be focusing on pre-k through grade 6, which I think will be a little bit of a different role for her, but I feel like she is prepared to take over, because she has had a lot of experience in the administrative role. Most importantly, she has the needs of the children in her heart, which is important to us, because we lead with the heart at New Boston Schools.”
Dever said that she is excited for the new experience and is weary of the big shoes she is going to attempt to fill.
“I am very honored that Miss Chamberlin, the superintendent, and the board all feel confident that I can fill such large shoes,” Dever said. “I’ve worked with Miss Chamberlin for some time and she is such a great friend. I am lucky to have had such a great role model to have shadowed for the past 10 years and I feel honored to have the opportunity to continue the wonderful work that she has done.
Dever became teary-eyed when discussing her mentor leaving the district, but she said she is ready to continue her legacy of helping students.
“I feel like our students have unlimited potential and I just want to be here to help the teachers work with the students to fulfill all the dreams that they have,” Dever explained.
Superintendent Melinda Burnside said she will miss Chamberlin being a common sight in the schools, but feels like Dever is a good fit for the position.
“Miss Chamberlin has dedicated 25 years of her life to New Boston Schools and 11 of those were as elementary principal,” Burnside said. “She loves the kids and it shows. They love her and she them; she will be tremendously missed. It has been a joy to work with Miss Chamberlin and I wish her the best of luck beginning a new phase of her life with her children and grandchildren.
“Miss Dever has been in our school system for 16 years, most recently a leadership role as literacy specialist and as the collaborative learning practitioner. She has worked closely with Miss Chamberlin with federal programs and she has been a positive force. I am confident she will do a great job as principal. She has dedicated her life to the school and knows the system; I think this will be a smooth transition.”
Burnside said she believes Dever will be taking over before the end of next month.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.