RUMFORD — Anne Chamberlin is retiring after a 37-year career in public education, all of it in the Rumford/Mexico area.

Twenty-one of those years have been as principal of Rumford Elementary School, a job she loves.

“I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a teacher, then I was influenced by an English teacher who seemed like she had it all together,” Chamberlin said as she sat in her office.

Not only has Chamberlin devoted her entire career to the RSU 10 and former SAD 43 districts, but she also hasn’t moved far from the farmhouse on the Canton Point Road where she grew up. She and her husband, Arthur, also a teacher, live in another farmhouse where her father grew up.

“It’s been a good career,” she said, and she’ll miss it tremendously.

Chamberlin began her educational career as a seventh-grade teacher at the former Mexico Junior High School. Over the years, until 1991, she was a Title I teacher and program director, and assistant principal at both Rumford Elementary School and Meroby Elementary School, as well as at the former Virginia Elementary School.

“I like being an administrator and working with the teachers to reach the students. I’ve never wanted to be an administrator out of the school,” she said. “I would have missed that contact with students. Kids are where it’s at.”

Probably the biggest change in her 37 years has been technology, something that she expects will grow even more in the next few years.

Now, some of the classrooms are having Smart Boards installed. These electronic chalkboards  can interact with computers.

She expects textbooks to go online sometime in the next few years, too, at least for fourth- and fifth-graders.

“If no textbooks, we’d have the money so fourth- and fifth-graders could have laptops,” she said. “I never want to see books go away. We just don’t get the same feeling of reading to a child from a screen.”

Her school is filled with all kinds of books, largely because of the support of the community, she said.

“Exposure to books improves the chance of success,” she said.

Although she said she’s looking forward to retirement, she still feels joy everytime she walks through the school’s doors. She said her 50 staff members are amazing.

But she wants to reclaim her flower garden and help her husband with the couple’s vegetable garden.

Two of her grandchildren are starting school, so she’ll have more time to be with them and she’d like to see more of the United States.

“Retirement is bittersweet,” she said. “In June, I’ll be going on an extended summer vacation.”

Chamberlin earned her bachelor and master’s degrees at the University of Southern Maine, as well as a certificate of principalship.

She and her husband are the parents of five children and the grandparents of four.

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