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When he was a school custodian, Dan Frye always felt as if he were "on the outside looking in." But now he has a new focus, and this time it's inside the classroom.

The 39-year-old Mr. Frye, who spent 21 years as a custodian, began his first year this fall as a teacher in the Dubuque, Iowa, public schools. He said his years in the city's schools provided some preparation for the job, but there are some new twists.

"The student is in my hands now," he said. "I deal with the problems."

Mr. Frye said teaching reading, spelling, and math to 5th and 6th graders in Dubuque's Fulton Elementary School keeps him busy. But he doesn't mind.

"I'm having a blast," he said.

Mr. Frye had longed to teach for many years, but avoided making the leap because of poor economic conditions. "I thought it was foolish to go into teaching."

He went to college in the 1980s and earned a degree in flight operations. He worked a second job in aviation while maintaining his job as a custodian.

But, Mr. Frye said, "I still had the desire to teach." So he decided to return to school. After receiving his teaching credentials in December 1992, he spent more than two years as a substitute.

This fall, he began teaching full time at Fulton Elementary. Last week, after a month on the job, Mr. Frye said things couldn't be better.

"I was nervous starting out; there's always that when you do something you've always wanted to do," he said. "Now we're starting to get into the academics. The best thing is having my own classroom."

He said all the years on the outside looking in helped him learn the most important lesson in dealing with his students: "I try to treat the kids with respect. The same respect as I would an adult."

Ramsay Selden, the director of the state education-assessment center at the Council of Chief State School Officers, has announced that he will be joining the Washington-based American Institutes for Research, an organization that promotes research in behavioral and social science. Mr. Selden, who has headed the assessment center since 1985, will start his position as the director of the air's new education-statistics service next month. ... Replication and Program Strategies, a national nonprofit organization, has appointed Narcisa A. Polonio as its chief operating officer. The Philadelphia-based organization helps promising social programs, including school youth programs, gain wider national acceptance. Ms. Polonio is a former president of Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

--Adrienne D. Coles

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