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Alton C. Crews, superintendent of the Gwinnett County, Ga., school system, has been named to head the Southern Regional Education Board's new leadership academy.

The Atlanta-based academy will focus on improving student performance throughout the 15 Southern states that make up the regional education compact. It was established with a $1-million grant from ncnb Corporation, a bank holding company based in Charlotte, N.C. The company also will provide $1 million in awards to schools and districts that develop model plans for improving performance.

The sreb also has chosen Gov. Henry Bellmon of Oklahoma as its new chairman.


For the first time, a woman with a full-time job will serve as president of the National pta.

Ann Lynch, director of marketing and community relations at the Humana Hos8,8.5,8.5,10,11p3,,-1

Ann Lynchpital-Sunrise in Las Vegas, Nev., has taken over the helm of the nation's largest parent-teacher organization.

Ms. Lynch said she hopes to attract more "nontraditional" members, including fathers, working mothers, single parents, and those who do not speak English, to the group.

"For several years, we have left the burden of parent involvement up to the homemaker," she said. The group can "branch out," she argued, by shifting meeting times and places, supplying bilingual materials, and enlisting parents, rather than children, to recruit new members.

Parents should have the option of volunteering only for small blocks of time or for specific activities, Ms. Lynch said. But, she added, they should honor their responsibility to become involved in their children's schooling. "I don't think it's a great excuse anymore to say you have a full-time job," she said.


Rick L. Barger, a wastewater-treatment official from Little Rock, Ark., thinks teaching children about the need to save water is so important that he willingly adopts an identity that most people would avoid like a broken septic tank. Donning red tights and a blue cape, he becomes "Captain Sewer."

Armed with a toilet seat as a shield and a plunger as a sword, Captain Sewer regularly visits local elementary schools, where he urges children to "conserve all the water they can now."

Mr. Barger's alter ego has become so pop6ular that he now appears in a coloring book about water conservation that the utility distributes to students.


The sale of a farm in southern Florida produced a windfall last month for students at Deerfield Beach High School--a $6.4-million donation to their college-scholarship fund.

In their will, the late James and Alice Butler had named the school as the beneficiary of 30 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their bean farm, the bulk of which fetched $23 million.

Moreover, some 80 acres are still up for sale, for an expected $7.5 million. That will produce another $1.1 million for the school, according to its principal, Ronald Clodfelter.

The endowment will yield a yearly income of about $550,000, Mr. Clodfelter estimated.


Norman Najimy, principal of the Richmond (Mass.) Consolidated School, proposed a novel solution to the budget shortage that threatened the jobs of two teachers: abolishing his own job. By dismissing him and paying a teacher an extra $3,000 to handle administrative duties, he suggested, the school could save about $40,000.

The school committee last month took Mr. Najimy up on the idea.

Although the suggestion cost Mr. Najimy his job, it also transformed him overnight into a symbol of the schools' financial hardships and earned him a raft of media invitations to talk about the need to rethink national spending priorities.

"We expect extraordinary achievements from our schools," said Mr. Najimy, "and yet funding for education in relation to the economy is totally inadequate."

Mr. Najimy hopes to find another education job in the Richmond area, but is not very optimistic about his chances. "The opportunities are slim because of the inability of towns to hire new staff," he said.

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