CINCINNATI — Paige Kimble is stepping down as the executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the E.W. Scripps Company announced in a release on Monday. She's been involved with the operation of the spelling bee for nearly 30 years.
Under Kimble’s tenure, the annual spelling contest, broadcast nationally on ESPN, was molded into an event which has nearly 25,000 applicants worldwide for more than 250 local and regional spelling bees.
“Paige Kimble leaves an indelible impression on the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” said president and chief executive officer of The E. W. Scripps Company Adam Symson. “She took competitive spelling to new heights and transformed a competition for school children into an American national treasure.”
Her association with the bee began in 1980 when she placed second in the competition. The following year, she won the 54th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word “sarcophagus.”
“It goes without saying that the Bee has been a huge part of my life for about as long as I can remember,” Kimble said. “Stepping away from my leadership role is one of the most important decisions I have ever made, but the time is right for me to explore new opportunities. The Bee will always have a special place in my heart, and I stand ready to help the program in any way I can.”
Kimble was named executive director in 2013.