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The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network has awarded its Northeast Pathfinder Award to Penny Culliton, an English teacher at Mascenic High School in New Ipswich, N.H. Ms. Culliton was fired for teaching two books by gay authors in September 1995.

Ms. Culliton is the first heterosexual to receive the honor, which is given to individuals who have "created paths for others to follow in the fight against homophobia in schools."

An arbitrator ruled last month that Ms. Culliton could return to her job. The New Ipswich school board has appealed the decision.

The teachers' network, based in New York City, has more than 30 chapters and 3,000 members nationwide.

Rudolph Gordon has been named superintendent of the Greenville County, S.C., schools. Mr. Gordon has been the interim chief of the 55,000-student district, the state's largest, since February. He was given a three-year contract that includes a $110,000-a-year salary. Mr. Gordon replaces Timothy Jenney, who resigned in February to run the Virginia Beach, Va., district. ... Michael Riley, the deputy superintendent of the 100,000-student Baltimore County, Md., schools, has been named to head the Bellevue, Wash., district. Mr. Riley will start in July with a salary of $115,000. He replaces Don O'Neil, who left the 14,700-student district last spring.

Georgia Gov. Zell Miller has named Mike Vollmer to head the newly created Office of School Readiness, a prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds. Mr. Vollmer has been the head of the lottery-funded state scholarship program, HOPE since 1993. At the governor's request, the state legislature agreed this year to give the governor's office control over the prekindergarten program. This year, the voluntary program served about 44,000 children and will expand to 60,000 children next year. ... Lynda Johnson Robb has been named chairwoman of the board of Reading Is Fundamental Inc., the Washington-based organization that promotes children's literacy. Ms. Robb, the wife of U.S. Sen. Charles S. Robb, D-Va., has been with the nonprofit organization since it was formed three decades ago. The group has distributed more than 163 million books to children since 1966.

--Adrienne D. Coles
acoles@epe.org

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