April 09, 1997 1 min read

Ruth Hayre, a pioneering educator whose career with the Philadelphia schools spans nearly 50 years, last week announced her resignation from the nine-member school board.

Ms. Hayre, 85, cited health reasons for her decision. She recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Although her resignation is scheduled to take effect April 30, the mayor of Philadelphia would like Ms. Hayre to extend that date, a district spokesman said.

Ms. Hayre, who is black, was once denied a position with the Philadelphia schools because of her color. She was hired by the district as a teacher in 1941 and went on to become a principal and administrator.

In 1991, Ms. Hayre became the first black woman to serve as board president in the district. That same year, she took up the issue of teen sexuality; her efforts resulted in an adolescent-sexuality curriculum that allowed for condom distribution in schools.

Alaska school secretary Karen Mahurin was awarded the National Education Association’s support-personnel award last week.

The award, presented by the 2.2 million-member teachers’ union each year, honors excellence among school support-staff members such as teachers’ aides, cafeteria workers, office staff, bus drivers, and custodial and maintenance workers.

Ms. Mahurin, the school secretary at Sears Elementary School in Anchorage since 1981, was recognized for her efforts to bridge the gap between her school and the community. During her tenure with the school, she has set up a lunch-money kitty and installed a student phone to allow students to call home for forgotten winter wear.

The race for mayor in the central Kansas town of Hesston came down to a teacher and his student last week, and the educator came out on top.

Mayor John Waltner, a high school government teacher, defeated his challenger and student, Christopher Friesen, in the April 1 election runoff with 391 votes. Mr. Friesen received 236 votes.

The 18-year-old senior at Hesston High School decided to run for mayor of the town of 3,300 while taking Mr. Waltner’s government class this semester. Mr. Friesen was the first to challenge Mr. Waltner, who has been mayor for 12 years.