People News

February 07, 1990 1 min read

Mississippi’s interim superintendent of education, Thomas H. Saterfiel, has resigned only three weeks after replacing outgoing superintendent Richard Boyd.

Mr. Saterfiel, a deputy superintendent under Mr. Boyd, announced late last month that he will leave March 1 to become vice president of research for the American College Testing program.

The state board of education announced that it will appoint a new interim superintendent later this month.

The state has launched a national search to replace Mr. Boyd, and hopes to have a superintendent hired by June.

Billy Joel, the pop performer who once wanted to be a history teacher, has sent a message to junior- and senior-high school students about the importance of studying history.

A special cassette recording of Mr. Joel’s hit song “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” an aural montage of the events, people, and places that have made the news in the past 40 years, was distributed late last month along with copies of Junior Scholastic magazine and its sister publications.

In a taped interview introducing the song, Mr. Joel tells students of his love of history and his one-time intention to teach.

“A lot of people tend to think history is just this drab series of boring names and dates that you just have to connect to pass the test,’' he says. “Really, history is a living thing. We are where we are today, and we are who we are today, because of our history.”

The tapes went to 40,000 classrooms, reaching more than 1 million students, according to Scholastic Inc.

New Jersey’s education commissioner, Saul Cooperman, announced his resignation last week, effective June 30.

Mr. Cooperman, who was appointed by former Gov. Thomas Kean in 1982, said that Gov. James Florio had not asked for his resignation.

But Mr. Cooperman did learn that Mr. Florio planned to launch a nationwide search to find a new commissioner of education.

Though Mr. Cooperman was to be interviewed for the job, he said he did not wish to participate in that process.

At a press conference, Mr. Cooperman admitted that he had been approached earlier by the Bush Administration to become a high-level education official, and by a state university to be its president. But the outgoing commissioner said he has declined--and would not reconsider--both offers.

A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 1990 edition of Education Week as People News