by Jeff Muddell, Sanibel School Fund President
Some people move to Sanibel to be closer to nature; others come to escape the northern cold. Some people move to retire; others, particularly in recent years, come to work remotely.
Paul Warren came to Sanibel to teach.
“We’ve loved Sanibel and we wanted to come here. Our family bought a home here five years ago, knowing that coming here full time was part of our master plan,” said Warren.
“As for teaching in Lee County, I told everyone I only wanted to teach on Sanibel, because that’s going to be my community school, and that’s important to me.”
When a middle school position became available last summer and was offered to Warren, the master plan went into action. He and his wife, Lisa, put the wheels in motion to move to Sanibel from Bay Village, Ohio, just in time for Warren to start teaching at The Sanibel School at the start of the new school year.
Just five months later, Warren was asked to take over the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. With his career spanning both teaching and engineering fields, school leaders are confident that the community-supported program at the school is in good hands.
“With the departure of Kelly Johnson, who helped create the STEM program, we looked internally first for a replacement,” said Jaimie Reid, principal of The Sanibel School. “With Mr. Warren’s background, we know he has the skills to take it to the next level.”
Warren graduated from Penn State with a degree in manufacturing engineering. Immediately after graduating, he teamed up with GE’s manufacturing management program, moving up within the company through moves to three states. While climbing through the ranks at GE Healthcare, he earned an MBA at Marquette University.
But after more than 20 years in the manufacturing engineering world, Warren had a change of heart.
“That field was all I ever knew, and I wanted a change and a challenge,” said Warren. “My boys were in middle school, and I wanted to be involved with them, so I got my teaching certification.”
Warren taught for five years at Bay Village High School in Ohio as an intervention specialist, similar to the ESE role at The Sanibel School.
“I’m excited to be involved with the STEM program that is supported by this community. I’m a lifelong learner, and I want my students to feel the same way – to be curious, to try new things,” said Warren.
STEM can be found in some form at schools nationwide, but The Sanibel School has one of the more robust programs thanks to the generosity of the island community. The Sanibel School Fund annually raises support for the program through fundraising activities, including the Blue Ribbon Golf Classic on May 14.
When not teaching, you will find Paul and Lisa working at their home. The couple has two sons – Sam, a photojournalism student at Ohio University who will be on Sanibel interning for his second summer at “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and Will, a forestry student at the University of Northern Arizona.
“This has been an exciting time for my family and me,” says Warren. “I look forward to having the opportunity to shape this program into something that will positively affect all the students of The Sanibel School.”