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Wayne Wortham, the newly appointed principal at Randolph County High School in Wedowee, Ala., has a goal for the start of the new school year.

"I plan to have a better year than last year," he said in a recent interview. That shouldn't be too hard, he hopes, given the way 1994 went for the school.

The 682-student school drew national attention in February 1994 when then-Principal Hulond Humphries tried to ban interracial dating at the prom and allegedly called a female student of mixed racial origin a "mistake."

Following months of protests and racial tensions in the community, the school building was destroyed in a fire and the son of one of the chief protesters against Mr. Humphries was charged with arson.

Mr. Wortham took over the principal's job after Mr. Humphries was reassigned. In July, the school board voted to give him the job permanently.

"The community has been very supportive of me," said Mr. Wortham, a 1969 graduate of the school.

Construction of a new school is scheduled to begin later this month. Classes in Wedowee resumed last month, mostly in portable classrooms.

One of the items on the agenda for the Baltimore County, Md., school board this fall will be to seek new leadership in 1996. The board has bought out the contract of Superintendent Stuart Berger amid friction over changes he brought to the 100,000-student suburban school district after taking over in 1992.

To persuade Mr. Berger to step aside, the board agreed to pay him $150,000, plus his annual salary of $121,000 for the final year remaining on his four-year contract. Anthony Marchione, the deputy superintendent, will take over as the interim superintendent; Mr. Berger will become a consultant to the district until July 1996.

Thomas H. Andrews, a former Democratic congressman from Maine, has been named the president of People for the American Way. He will replace Arthur J. Kropp, who died in June. Mr. Andrews will begin his new position with the Washington-based liberal advocacy organization late this month.... Yvonne Gonzalez, the superintendent of the 12,288-student Santa Fe, N.M., public schools, has named Alex Rascon Jr. to be the district's chief of public and school safety. During his 27 years of service in the San Diego schools, Mr. Rascon was instrumental in helping win passage of 18 state safe-school bills in California.

--Adrienne D. Coles

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