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Janie R. Hill Hatton has been named the first National Principal of the Year by a five-member panel chaired by former U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell.

The principal of the Milwaukee Trade and Technical School, Ms. Hatton was selected last week from 250 middle and high school principals nominated for the award. The program is sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Ms. Hatton assumed her current post in 1991 after serving as a community superintendent for the Milwaukee school district and as an assistant principal at the high school. She is the first female principal of the high school, which was established in 1906.

In a press statement, Timothy J. Dyer, the executive director of NASSP, said Ms. Hatton was honored because "her focus is on students. She will cut through bureaucracy to improve conditions for teachers, and she never runs away from a risk if taking that risk will help kids.''

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