Teacher Talks: Scott Schaffner, High School Principal


Growing up, Scott Schaffner swore that he would never become a teacher. Today, he has 13 years of teaching experience, has been a principal for nine years, and is our new High School Principal.

Schaffner originally went into law after finishing college but was not passionate about it.

“[Law] didn’t get me out of bed every morning excited to go to work and life is short and I wanted to do something that I enjoyed,” Schaffner said.

Because he had worked with kids through coaching and summer camps, he started to think that teaching might be the right path for him.  

“I found myself constantly daydreaming about teaching kids. It sounds kind of silly but I thought it would be fun to share my knowledge, it would be fun, it wouldn’t be a job,” Schaffner said.

After three years of practicing law, he stopped “denying the inevitable,” as he put it, and got a substitute job in lower Manhattan where he eventually became a full-time teacher. From New York City, Schaffner moved to Warsaw, Poland to teach IB History and then to Dubai, where he remained for 5 years before coming to UNIS.

He enjoys being at UNIS because of the unique atmosphere and attitude.

“I feel like there is an openness here maybe because the vast majority of us have been newbies or newcomers,” Schaffner said. “I’ve been made to feel more welcome much quicker here.”

He is also looking forward to developing a distinct high school culture and offering more courses. After the schedule change, Schaffner is not looking to make any more dramatic changes soon, but said that the school “has the potential to be even better.”

In his free time, Schaffner enjoys spending time with his kids and traveling. He also enjoys sports and music; Schaffner played college basketball and used to be part of a teacher band. His “rock-rap” band, as he described it, once played a famous venue in New York City called CBGB where famous acts like the Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads have performed.