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Teresa Harvey, a first-grade teacher at Chief Leschi Elementary School in Tacoma, Wash., has won the "Excellence in Teaching'' award given annually by the federal system of Native American schools. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs' office of Indian-education programs presents the award to a K-12 teacher in the 185-school, 24,000-student system. Ms. Harvey was chosen from about 1,500 teachers in the system....The Council of Foundations has named the president of the Ford Foundation, Franklin A. Thomas, the winner of its 1995 Distinguished Grantmaker Award. The award, which will be presented May 2 during the Washington D.C.-based council's annual conference, recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement in organized philanthropy. Mr. Thomas, who has been with the Ford Foundation for 16 years, has announced plans to retire next March. The foundation has named Susan V. Berresford, executive vice president and chief operating officer, to succeed him. She will be the first woman president to head the New York City philanthropy.

Shirley Holloway has been named the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Education. Ms. Holloway, who most recently was the president of Arctic Sivunmum Ilisagvik College, worked with the North Slope Borough schools for 16 years, serving as the superintendent from 1987-90. She has also been a professor at the University of Alaska at Anchorage and Gonzaga University and was the superintendent of the Nine Mile Falls district in Washington State

The National Center for Research in Vocational Education has a new director, David Stern, an education professor at the University of California at Berkeley. The center is based at the university's graduate school of education....Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. has been named the first national model site for the Straight Talk About School program. Developed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the G.T.E. Foundation, the program focuses on successful college students' providing insight to teenagers on balancing their lives, handling peer pressure, setting priorities, and reducing stress. Rod Woodson of the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers spoke to about 1,900 students last week to kick off the program. ... Sandra Oliver Heningburg has joined the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Children's Fund as the associate vice president for education and community programs.

--Adrienne D. Coles

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