Competitor AOAP Aquatic Professional of the Month

Competitor Aquatics Professional of the Month is a recurring AOAP feature shedding light on an Aquatics Professional who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Aquatics Professional of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one director whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a manager who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite aquatics director wasn’t selected, feel free to submit their name and information below for future consideration (they must be a member of AOAP to be considered).

March 2019 Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month

Cover Photo

Damaris Shiavi Schaeflein

Overbrook School For The Blind – Kappen Aquatic Center

Damaris Shiavi Schaeflein – Aquatic Center Coordinator

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Damaris Shiavi has spent the past ten years as the Aquatic Center Coordinator for the First Platinum Leed Certified Natatorium in the Country at The Overbrook School For The Bind’s – 2009 New Construction- Kappen Aquatic Center, where she manages School Year staff of seven and a seasonal summer staff of eight.  Together they operate 2 indoor pools, numerous aquatic programs – one being our Certified American Red Cross Learn To Swim program-specializing in providing aquatics for the visually impaired along with complex needs population for our School Based Program of over 200 students and staff aquatic programs.  Damaris has been an Aquatics Professional since 1998, having previously worked for Woods Services in the town of Langhorne, PA – as the Aquatics Coordinator - operating 2 indoor pools, 2 outdoor pool, 2 whirlpools – providing and serving aquatic programs for over 750 individuals with varying special needs and populations and a Swimming Instructor for the Lower Merion School District’s school based Elementary and After School Swim Program from 1991- 1998 in (Ardmore, PA)  and along with being a Certified Swimming and Diving Official for the PIAA - Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association – Central League Area Schools (1991-1996).

The Kappen Aquatic Center’s Student Swim Team participates yearly in the Eastern Athletic Association For The Blind (EAAB) Swim Tournament along New York Institute for Special Education, Maryland School For The Blind, West Virginia School For the Blind, Perkins and at times, Texas School For the Blind.  The Kappen Aquatic Center hosts the EAAB 3 day Swim Tournament every 2 years in addition to other home Swim Competitions during the EAAB Swim Team Season.  The Kappen Aquatic Center has won multiple awards from various agencies - 2014 – Aquatics International Best of Aquatics – Celebration of Excellence – Finalist award for ‘Green Practices’, and 2013 – Aquatics International Dream Designs award for a School incorporating innovative features geared toward the needs of target users.  Damaris has participated and co-authored several articles: Design Properly for Autism and Design for all Students - Franklin Hill, PhD, with bio billing to Damaris Shiavi, Special Needs Sensory Learning from Philly to Kuwait – Creative Pool Designs builds Character, Confidence and Decision Making.  Educational Facility Planner Journal Vol.46, Issue 1 (June2012) Written by Franklin Hill Ph.D and Damaris Shiavi and with National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities – published – Special Needs Sensory Learning from Philly to Kuwait-Creative Pool Designs builds Character, Confidence and Decision Making. Written by Franklin Hill Ph.D and Damaris Shiavi (2012).  Damaris serves as a Representative on AOAP’s Education Committee and  holds National Recreation and Park Association NRPA Aquatic Facility Operator, PA Department of Agriculture Pesticide – Category 24, Pool Management certifications along with her American Red Cross WSI – Water Safety Instructor, Lifeguarding, CPR, First Aid, and AED and a Master’s of Education  with Certifications in Elementary and Special Education  (Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa) and Teacher of the Visually Impaired from Kutztown University.   Damaris was selected as the EAAB Eastern Athletic Association For the Bind Swim Tournament Director, effective 2019. Damaris is currently on the Wellness Committee, Farm To Table, Safety Committee and as the Planning Committee Chairperson for our School Middle States Accreditation.


When not at work you can find Damaris spending time with her Niece Olivia either at swimming classes, attending performances, concerts, cooking, gardening, or traveling to quiet places to relax with her husband.




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Submit a name to be considered for the Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month

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