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Janice Herbranson, who attracted national attention in 1983 when she was identified by the National Education Association as the country's lowest-paid teacher, has returned to the one-room schoolhouse in McLeod, N.D., where she taught for 16 years.

Ms. Herbranson, who was earning $6,300 in 1983, had left the school when it was closed for lack of students in 1986.

This year, however, the McLeod school district faced dissolution if it did not reopen its school. So Ms. Herbranson, 56, left a $25,000-a-year teaching job in Texas to return to the plains community of 50 people.

Ms. Herbranson sees benefits in teaching in the one-room school, which will open6with five students. "It's probably old-fashioned, but that's not all bad," she said. "I get to work with them individually. When you can work with them so closely, it becomes almost like a second family."

Ms. Herbranson's new salary has yet to be determined.

Ted Elsberg, head of the 4,500-member New York City Council of Supervisors and Administrators, has been elected to a three-year term as president of the American Federation of School Administrators. The largest national union of supervisory personnel in public schools, it represents some 11,000 principals and other administrators.

Mr. Elsberg, 56, said in a prepared statement that he would promote the goal of "less interference" for school supervisors from federal, state, and local mandates and "more authority, flexibility, and control" for such leaders. He also said he would involve the national organization in some local issues, including lobbying against the termination of principals' tenure in Chicago schools and against the proposed management of the Chelsea, Mass., school system by Boston University.

The protracted battle--played out before a captivated national press corps--over the right of three North Carolina schoolchildren to stand at the gates of their school and "preach" is over for the moment.

The Eastfield Elementary School in Marion, N.C., opened for the new year without Duffey, Matthew, and Pepper Strode last week, following an agreement between school officials and parents David and Marian Strode that the children may be educated at home.

Mr. and Mrs. Strode, who last month received the governor's approval for homeschooling, have 30 days to formulate a suitable curriculum, said Eastfield's principal, James Gorst.

Mr. Strode said he and his wife, who will be instructing the children themselves, have already selected a Mennonite textbook series to conduct their lessons.

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