June 8, 2005 - On a hot morning in June, Kim Boling lugged six large boxes of books into a local bookstore, all in an effort to empty out her Catalina Foothills School District classroom and begin a new chapter of her life.

July 1 will mark her first official day as Ventana Vista Elementary School's new principal, and this longtime science and math teacher couldn't be more excited.

Boling was selected from a pool of five candidates for the position. She will replace Mary Jo Conery, who is leaving for another position within the district. The district's governing board approved the principal position at its May 24 board meeting.

Boling will earn $65,000 for the 2005-06 school year.

Board President Cliff Altfeld said the district is thrilled Boling will be taking on the new position.

"Her experience is a great match for what we are looking for," he said.

Boling was a teacher at Manzanita Elementary School for 12 years and said that leaving her friends, students and colleagues has been bittersweet, but that she is looking forward to the challenge.

"Being principal brings with it a roller coaster of emotions," she said.

She admits that she wasn't looking for a change, that she was happy with her classroom of fifth graders and with teaching them the rules of math and the staples of science. But when the opportunity presented itself, she figured she would go for the challenge and use it as a learning experience. She said she is "thrilled it worked out."

Boling earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Arizona, along with her master's degree in teacher education, with a teaching emphasis in math and a specialty endorsement at the elementary level.

She completed her administrative certification, which allows her to accept a principal position, four years ago from Northern Arizona University.

In the middle of her early work at Manzanita teaching third and fourth graders, she took three years off and went to the University of Arizona and completed grant work with the university's math department. There, she focused her time on erasing the stereotype that girls are less capable than boys in math and science.

Boling said that just isn't true, that the stereotype is perpetuated by society and by expectations that girls just won't get the subjects, she said.

At UA, her grant work focused on three areas, the first being a project that enhanced the teaching of eighth grade teachers throughout Tucson.

She then focused on a gender equality project, which involved encouraging local Girl Scouts to get involved in math and science.

She also worked with parents from the Sunnyside School District on a project that encouraged parents to get involved in their children's math work.

When the grant money ran out, she went back to Manzanita and the school she loved, she said.

With Boling's experience in math and science, she will be an asset to the district, especially with the AIMS requirements and the No Child Left Behind regulations each district is expected to meet, Altfeld said.

"She has phenomenal credentials," he said.

Boling was honored as the 2005 elementary Arizona Science Teacher of the Year by the Southern Arizona Science and Engineering Fair Committee.

While her days at Manzanita are coming to an end, Boling said she is confident she will always stay a part of the close-knit group of staff members.

"I will always be very close to my Manzanita family," she said. "(They) are like a second home to me."

Boling is currently working with Conery to assure a smooth transition into the principal role at Ventana Vista, and she said she looks forward to working with the new teachers and students.

"I don't want to be too far removed from the classroom," she said.

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