Nina Willette previously worked as a language arts teacher at Brunswick Junior High School for 11 years and then continued on to serve as the Dean of Students at Woolwich Central School for two years. Photo courtesy of Nina Willette

GEORGETOWN — When Nina Willette, the new principal at Georgetown Central School, walks through the doors on the first day this fall, it will be her homecoming.

The Georgetown native is a former Georgetown Central School student. Her mother taught at the school when Willette was a kid.

“This job has always been a dream of mine … it’s a position I’ve always wanted,” said Willette.

She couldn’t resist going after her “dream job” when Chris Baribeau, the current principal, announced his plans to resign to take a job as the director of special education at AOS 98.

The Georgetown Central School Board of Directors unanimously approved the change in leadership, effective July 1, at their June meeting.

Willette previously worked as a language arts teacher at Brunswick Junior High School for 11 years and then served as the dean of students at Woolwich Central School for two years.

Georgetown Central School serves about 50 students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

“Kids are always the priority there, and I want to continue that legacy,” she said. “The school does a lot with hands-on learning, and is focused on community.”

She said she’s excited to take the reins of her alma mater, but also finds the change nerve-wracking.

“But, as my dad used to say, ‘If you’re not nervous, you’re not paying attention,’” she reasoned.

Willette said the COVID-19 pandemic is the toughest challenge she has faced as an educator because it forced schools into months of unexpected distance learning after the disease reached Maine in March.

“This pandemic has spun life out of order, and we’re trying to support kids on a distance learning platform,” she said. “Raising and educating kids is a team effort, but that has been the hardest part about educating from a distance over the past few months.”

She’s approaching the challenge COVID-19 presents from the perspective of a parent as well. She has two children, with the oldest entering pre-kindergarten in the coming school year.

“I love seeing kids get excited about learning and celebrating with them,” she said. “I am every student’s cheerleader. I want to see every one of our students be the best they can possibly be.”

Willette said her long-term goal is to make Georgetown Central School “one of the best elementary schools in the state of Maine.”

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