KENNEBUNK – After a 43-year career as an athletic administrator, an assistant principal, a coach and a teacher, Thor Nilsen of Kennebunk High is retiring.

For the last four years, Nilsen, 65, has been the Rams’ athletic administrator. His last day at work will be June 28.

“I’ve done just about everything in education,” said Nilsen. “On July 1st, I’m going make myself a cup of coffee, walk out on my deck, put my feet up and reflect on what happens next.

“I have no idea what I’m going to be doing, but it won’t be in athletic administration.

“I really have not taken the time to sit down and do nothing.”

Joe Schwartzman, who served as Wells High athletic administrator from 2004 to 2008, is Nilsen’s replacement.

He was approved Monday by the Kennebunk School Board. Schwartzman is an assistant principal at Marshwood High in Eliot.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back into athletic administration,” said Schwartzman, who lives in Kennebunk.

“I love the positive impact I can have on kids and athletics. It’s where my passion is.”

Before Wells, Schwartzman was a teacher and the lacrosse coach at Noble High in North Berwick. He also was an assistant football coach.

As Nilsen winds down his career, he can look back on a well-traveled journey with several stops as an athletic director and various committee assignments with the Maine Principals’ Association.

Before Kennebunk, he was the athletic administrator at Bedford, N.H., High, where he was part of the planning team for a new high school.

Nilsen spent 10 years as the athletic director at South Portland High and also served in that capacity at Yarmouth High, Noble High and Windham High.

A physical education teacher before moving into athletic administration, Nilsen also coached soccer at Cape Elizabeth, Windham and South Portland.

Nilsen served as chairman of the MPA’s soccer committee and has also served on the ice hockey, wrestling, sports medicine and sportsmanship committees.

A good part of Nilsen’s attention at Kennebunk over the last three years has been the proposed renovation of the athletic fields which is part of the overall renovation of the high school. The athletic fields renovation would include a turf field.

“Things are moving forward. I would like to see it come to fruition,” said Nilsen.

As part of the state moving to four classes in high school football, Kennebunk will return to Class B in the sport.

The school will also move from the Southern Maine Activities Association to the Western Maine Conference, where the Rams used to be.


Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at [email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH


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