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Top Principals Say Societal Problems Are Biggest Obstacle

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Washington--The 59 elementary and middle-school educators named as this year's National Distinguished Principals say their biggest challenges lie outside, rather than inside, the schools.

The growing number of children who bring to the classroom an array of social problems--from the stresses of poor or broken homes to a lack of adequate motivation or language proficiency--represent the greatest obstacle they face, the principals reported in an informal poll taken here last week.

Those honored were selected by their peers in the fifth annual competition sponsored by the Education Department and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

They represent both public and private schools in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as American schools overseas.

According to the n.a.e.s.p., which released results of the poll, the administrators said that many parents are so busy trying to survive economically that they have little time to reinforce their children's schoolwork.

"Parents are interested," said one principal in the group, "but they are just exhausted."

The principals agreed by a 2-to-1 margin, however, that, despite these difficult conditions, pupils are learning more today than they did 10 years ago.

Their task as educators, the group said, would be facilitated by the following:

Adequate funding to provide ongoing programs and fulfill state and federal mandates.

Better salaries for teachers, who often leave the profession for better-paying jobs.

Increased preschool and early-education programs in all schools.

Developmentally appropriate, full-day kindergartens.

Classes of from 15 to 20 in grades K-3.

Programs for parenting.

Adequate and appropriate before- and after-school child care.

The 1988 National Distinguished Principals, who received their award from Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos in a ceremony last week, include:


Alabama: Michael L. Carr, Maxwell Air Force Base Elementary School. Alaska: Elizabeth L. Farni, Pearl Creek Elementary School, Fairbanks. Arizona: Karen L. Santa Maria, Laguna Elementary School, Tucson. Arkansas: Ralph J. Williams Jr., Fairview Elementary School, Fort Smith. California: Susan L. Van Zant, Pomerado Elementary School, Poway.

Colorado: Bruce F. Bartlett, Shepardson Elementary School, Fort Collins. Connecticut: Jacqueline J. Norcel, Tashua Elementary School, Trumbull. Delaware: Frank A. Young, Lake Forest North Elementary School, Felton. District of Columbia: Carolyn R. Preston, Bunker Hill Community School. Florida: Virginia B. Urbanek, Cecile Essrig Elementary School, Tampa.

Georgia: Winnette W. Bradley, Murphey Middle School, Augusta. Hawaii: Roberta F. Tokumaru, Aikahi Elementary School, Kailua. Idaho: James F. Liday, Wilcox Elementary School, Pocatello. Illinois: Earl W. Hartman, South Park Elementary School, Deerfield. Indiana: H. Eugene Burger, St. Paul Lutheran, Fort Wayne; Ann L. Parsley, Stillwell Elementary School.

Iowa: Theresa Schoen, Penn Elementary School, North Liberty. Kansas: Jody Booth, Tomahawk Elementary School, Olathe. Kentucky: Charles W. Edwards, Woodlawn Elementary School, Danville. Louisiana: Curt A. Boudreaux, Golden Meadow Middle School; Caroline M. Cappel, St. Genevieve Catholic School, Thibodaux. Maine: Douglas P. Lockwood, Searsport Elementary School.

Maryland: James S. Mitchell, Centennial Lane Elementary School, Ellicott City. Massachusetts: Robert J. Berry, Dennis C. Haley School, Roslindale. Michigan: James H. Lauer, Randolph Elementary School, Livonia. Minnesota: Kay Whitlow Douglass, Pinewood East Elementary School, Monticello. Mississippi: John E. Simpson, Glade Elementary School, Laurel.

Missouri: Carole L. Kennedy, Conn-West Elementary School, Grandview. Montana: Stanley F. Rathman, Choteau Elementary School. Nebraska: Marlin F. Johnson, Ruth Pyrtle Elementary School, Lincoln. Nevada: Margaret M. Lightner, Huffaker Elementary School, Reno. New Hampshire: Sandra J. Whippie, Marlborough School.

New Jersey: James C. Smith, Richard Butler School, Butler. New Mexico: Raymond E. Horvath, Ruth N. Bond Elementary School, Kirtland. New York: Mary E. Luckern, North Street Elementary School, Geneva; Mary Monica Riordan, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Orchard Park. North Carolina: Caryl B. Burns, Granite Falls Middle School. North Dakota: August J. Ritter, Northridge Elementary School, Bismarck.

Ohio: J. Joseph Whelan, Chambers Elementary School, East Cleveland. Oklahoma: Don L. Friesen, Cornelsen Elementary School, Fairview. Oregon: Herbert D. Ekstrom, Kenwood, Kingston, and Thompson Schools, Bend. Pennsylvania: Charles S. Wayes, Green Lane and Red Hill Elementary Schools, Red Hill. Rhode Island: Ann D. Higginbotham, Alice M. Waddington School, East Providence.

South Carolina: Frank R. Sarratt, Mary Bramlett Elementary School, Gaffney. South Dakota: Beverly A. McKenzie, North Elementary School, Mission. Tennessee: Don L. Hudson, Eakin Elementary School, Nashville. Texas: Jean P. Sykes, Jefferson Elementary School, Temple. Utah: Bruce R. Barnson, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Salt Lake City. Vermont: Mary S. Garamella, Union Elementary School, Montpelier.

Virginia: Fay S. Clark, Grafton Bethel Elementary School. Washington: Mary C. Dispenza, St. Louise de Merrilac School, Bellevue; Dick L. Hopkins, Northeast Tacoma Elementary School. West Virginia: John W. Ritchey, Page-Jackson Solar School, Charles Town. Wisconsin:Jean L. Nolte-Jewell, Central and Pelican Elementary Schools, Rhinelander. Wyoming: Bill M. Hambrick, Verda James Elementary School, Casper.

U.S. Department of Defense Dependents Schools: James M. Halley, Aschaffenburg American School, West Germany; Glynn H. Turquand, Alexander M. Patch Elementary School, West Germany. U.S. Department of State Overseas Schools: Catherine C. Bashshur, American Community School, Beirut, Lebanon; Elaine Sylvia Levy, Walworth Barbour American International School, Israel.

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