By EmmaLee Italia | Correspondent
Upon hearing of the opening for principal of St. Paul School, Princeton, Kim O. Clauss immediately visited the school’s website and viewed a lip sync video students participated in the previous year.
“Watching the [school’s] lion mascot walk through the school while the children were dancing in the hallways to ‘I’m Walking on Sunshine’ told me that this is where I wanted to be,” she recalled. “Their positive attitude, honest goodness and spirit drew me in immediately.”
A parishioner of Holy Cross Parish, Rumson, along with husband Paul, Clauss most recently was the technology coordinator and teacher of technology and life skills in Holy Cross School. She was also vice principal in Bishop Fenwick High School, Peabody, Mass., and held positions as physical education, health and math instructor, and physical education chair.
Clauss has been hired on an interim basis, as her application was not through the formal process of the school and parish principal search committee; however, she is open to applying for the permanent position when the search committee reconvenes in the fall, to discuss the process of moving forward in accordance with diocesan policy.
“Kim was very impressive in her interview,” said Msgr. Joseph Rosie, St. Paul pastor. “I have full confidence in Kim and look forward to working with her. She has a real love and passion for Catholic Schools.”
“This appointment is a tremendous opportunity for me as a professional,” said Clauss. “I have worked for almost 25 years in Catholic education, and I am more than excited by the opportunity to continue St. Paul’s growth in an era when Catholic education is more important than ever.”
Clauss earned two master’s degrees from Georgian Court University, Lakewood, in administration and health. She also received her bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from Springfield College, holding certification in K-12 education in New Jersey as well as a New Jersey State Principal Certificate. Clauss also has served on various committees, including the Holy Cross Middle States Evaluation Committee, chair of the AdvancED Review, and created the first Holy Cross School Security plan, working closely with local law enforcement. She is an avid Boston sports fan, coached elementary soccer and basketball, and currently coaches elementary school track and officiates track at the high school level.
With two children having graduated from Catholic elementary and Catholic high school, Clauss knows the value of faith-based education.
“Students in a Catholic school have the rare opportunity to learn, observe and experience their faith in all aspects of their education with continual reinforcement and guidance from their teachers and parents,” Clauss reflected. “This makes us different from the public schools in that every day, in every subject – from religion to science to art – and on to their extracurricular activities, we are teaching the values and mores of the Lord and the Church.”
Clauss credits the wider community of St. Paul School and Parish for its achievements, and expressed a desire to continue its trajectory.
“The foundation of St. Paul’s, including the work of its current pastor, faculty, staff, and parents, as well as past members of the school, has built St. Paul’s School of Princeton into the tremendous school that it is today,” she said. “My sincere hope is that I can add to its success in even some small way to continue and build upon its history and strong foundation.”