Shawn Lambert began his teaching career in 1993 and has worked in several schools, both as a teacher and administrator. Taylor Abbott / The Forecaster

BRUNSWICK — As the new academic year approaches, the new assistant superintendent of schools said he is looking forward to starting his job and learning more about the ever-changing community.

Shawn Lambert, who lives in New Gloucester, began his education career in 1993 after graduating from Colby College. The Biddeford native said he found his calling after taking a course that inspired him to pursue teaching.

“I kind of fell into it,” he said. “I decided to take an education course and liked it, and before I knew it I ended up becoming certified and then became a teacher. I fell into something I loved, which is rare, and I feel very lucky.”

Lambert, who was hired in April at an annual salary of about $124,000, said education evolves with its community, and with changing expectations from the state and advances in technology.

Brunswick is seeing major changes of its own as asylum-seekers move in from the Portland. Many are being housed at Brunswick Landing, and last week cultural broker Nsiona Nguizani was hired to establish communications between the newcomers and the community.

“There are cultural issues that will come up that you aren’t going to necessarily anticipate,” Lambert said. “Brunswick has been extremely welcoming and actively involved right from the beginning to see how they can help (asylum-seekers). … We know that there will be some hiccups, some ‘oops, let’s not do that again’ moments, but we’ve got a program ready to go and we just have to fine-tune a lot of things. We are ready and we will figure it out.”

In many ways, he said, his job is to help students figure out what they want to do.

“They often don’t know, which is fine. I like to explain to them that they should start with a plan and can change it at any time, Lambert said. “(I tell them) if you don’t have a plan, you do – it’s your parents’ basement.”

While Lambert recalls many instances where his students have excelled, he preferred to talk about one student he mentored 15 years ago.

“I had a student in Eastport that went to Colby and then to law school,” he said. “Now, she is one of the assistant district attorneys in Cumberland County. To help somebody become what they knew they wanted to be before they knew it themselves is incredible to watch.”

Lambert’s shift from teaching to administration came as a practical move after he earned a master’s degree in educational leadership in 1999. Before ending a nine-year stint at Oxford Hills Technical School, where he oversaw Maine Vocational Region 11, he worked at schools in Eastport, Waterville, Lewiston, Livermore Falls and Bethel.

As teachers and administrators prepare for students to begin the school year on Sept. 3, Lambert said he anticipates learning more about the town and the students.

“I’m looking forward to getting things going,” he said. “It’s difficult in the summer to get a grasp for what the school year will look like. I’m looking forward to getting the students here so we can really get to work.”

With every new position he’s undertaken, Lambert said it was important to reflect on his own errors and look at ways to be better each day.

“I haven’t always made the right decisions; there are things that I could have done differently, but I love what I do,” Lambert said. “The job gives you the opportunity to go the extra mile and leave the world a better place than you found it.”

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