Principal Hits The Jackpot

May 13, 1994|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

A sign over the door of Jeffrey Kimble's office at New Windsor Middle School reads, "Congratulations, Mr. Kimble. We Love You, Boss."

At each side of the computer-generated banner is a picture of a piggy bank overflowing with dollar bills.

That might be Mr. Kimble's biggest problem -- where to put all the money he just won in the Maryland Lotto -- $18 million over 20 years. He'll get the first annual installment of $900,000 (before taxes) next week.

The 52-year-old principal won the second-biggest jackpot in Lotto's history. Prizes of $21 million were awarded in 1991 and 1993.

The Westminster resident, an occasional lottery player, realized he'd won Wednesday night's drawing yesterday while reading The Sun at 5 a.m. over a cup of coffee.

"I didn't watch it on TV -- I was outside working and forgot about it," he said. "I got up at 5 a.m. like I usually do and started reading the paper and thought 'I'll check the lottery numbers.' "

The first five numbers matched. He got nervous.

"I was afraid to look at the sixth number," he said. "When I saw that it matched, I figured it had to be a mistake."

The winning numbers were 11, 26, 30, 32, 41 and 48.

He waited an hour to check a second newspaper before rousing his wife and children and telling them the news.

"He never gets anybody out of bed at 6 a.m.," said Mr. Kimble's son, Ryan, 20. "I wondered what I'd done wrong."

A quick trip to the 7-Eleven store in New Windsor, where he had bought $10 worth of tickets about 4 p.m. Wednesday, confirmed that he was indeed the only Lotto winner.

At that point, Mr. Kimble returned to school long enough to tell secretary Cathy Hughes, "I've won the lottery. I'm taking the day off. I'm not retiring."

He reaffirmed that decision, telling the media at a news conference at the Maryland Lottery Commission that he had to go to work today because his assistant principal was taking the afternoon off.

His wife, Marjorie, said one of his first purchases is likely to be a new set of golf clubs. He has also wanted to visit New Orleans, while her dream is to see Europe.

Mr. Kimble has been a Carroll County educator since 1967, first as a teacher, then assistant principal of East Middle and Northwest Middle schools before his appointment as principal of New Windsor Middle six years ago.

Mrs. Kimble, a media specialist at Westminster High, also has worked in the public schools since 1967. The Kimbles have two children. Ryan is a senior at Indiana University near Pittsburgh and Lauren, 24, has enrolled at Towson State University for the fall. The Kimbles say they plan to live their lives as they normally would -- at least until it sinks in that they are now millionaires. Mr. Kimble insisted late yesterday that he would like to continue working another five or six years.

"I enjoy what I do," he said. "I enjoy being around people, around children -- I'd miss not being around the kids."

Meanwhile, "Lotto" was on everybody's lips at New Windsor Middle, where the faculty's biggest question was how much longer they would have Mr. Kimble as principal.

"We're very excited for him, but we're anxious to see what his future will be," Ms. Hughes said.

Assistant Principal Lanny Hinkle said yesterday was one of the school's busiest days, with reporters coming in all day long and the phone ringing with calls from the Lotto Commission.

Gary Gysberts, a seventh-grade life science teacher, took advantage of the excitement to teach statistically appropriate lessons, using Mr. Kimble's long-shot win to explain probabilities in a review for a genetics test.

He also pointed out the importance of responsibility and organization, asking what might have happened if Mr. Kimble had lost his winning ticket.

The students were excited, but equally concerned about the possibility of Mr. Kimble leaving.

"We think he should share it [the money] with his favorite students," said eighth-grader Lori Coon.

Jeff Sutton, another eighth-grade student, said Mr. Kimble is "pretty cool. He's nice. If you get in trouble, he'll talk to you and tell you not to get in trouble again."

Things were equally hectic at the New Windsor 7-Eleven.

"I'm very excited. I've never had anything like this happen to me," said Karen Wantz, the assistant manager who sold the winning ticket. "I think it's going to put New Windsor on the map."

As the selling agent, the 7-Eleven's owner, Southland Corp., will receive $8,000 from the Lottery Commission.

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