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James A. Wilsford of Orangeburg, S.C., has been named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.

Mr. Wilsford, who heads the 6,500-student Orangeburg School District #5, was one of four finalists in the program, now in its second year.

In selecting Mr. Wilsford, aasa officials cited the substantial gains on standardized tests scored by his district's students, most of whom are black and from low-income families.

During his 12-year tenure, Mr. Wilsford has emphasized financial incentives for successful schools and teachers, use of computers, and on-site management, according to the association.

Some Weld County, Colo., parents have gotten an up-close view of the changing educational scene by attending high-school classes in their children's place.

About 70 parents participated in Valley High School's two-day parent-student exchange program last month. Parents followed their offsprings' class schedules, used their lockers, ate in the cafeteria, and participated in physical-education classes.

Students, meanwhile, could attend classes along with their parents, stay home, or "shadow someone who is doing their parent's job" at work, said Jerry E. Reiser, the school's principal.

"Parents really enjoy seeing the schools of today in operation," Mr. Reiser said. At the same time, allowing students to see their parents in a classroom setting or to visit their work places "fosters a whole lot more communication between parents and students," he said. "It opens up some communication lines that were not there before."

An added benefit of the program, now in its sixth year, is that students anticipating their parents' arrival "get their lockers cleaned out," he observed.

Thomas E. Kerns has become the first black superintendent of the Greenville County school system, South Carolina's largest.

A Greenville native, Mr. Kerns, 58, has taught in the county schools for 33 years and served as interim superintendent twice since the system was desegregated in 1970. The school board unanimously appointed him late last month.

Greenville County, whose population is roughly 18 percent black, is the 12th among the state's 91 school districts to have a black superintendent.

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