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A school board candidate in a Mississippi town took his campaigning straight into the 1990's and onto the information highway. Vying for one of two spots on the Clayton board, Paul Courter ran his campaign with help from computer on-line services.

Mr. Courter sent e-mail to more than 300 of the 8,566 registered voters in his area to tell them about his candidacy. More than 100 accepted his invitation to join in an on-line dialogue, Mr. Courter said last week.

His efforts were not wasted. Mr. Courter won the April 4 election by 43 votes.

"There were no major issues [in the race], and it was a way of getting a hold of voters," Mr. Courter said of his computerized campaign. "A lot of people who otherwise would not have known about the election found out about it."

Mr. Courter said he hopes to stay in touch with residents by computer during his three-year term as a board member, and said he believes it is important for school officials to understand new technology.

"If we are going to spend money for it [in the schools], members ought to know how to use it,"he said.

Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut has been named to the National Education Goals Panel. The 18-member bipartisan panel, created in 1990, works toward achievement of the eight national education goals....Charles E. Patterson, the superintendent of the Killeen, Tex., school district, has been named the president of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Mr. Patterson succeeds Arthur Steller, a deputy superintendent of the Boston public schools, in the one-year presidency of the Alexandria, Va.-based organization.

Thomas Layzell has been chosen to become Mississippi's next higher-education commissioner. Mr. Layzell has been the chancellor of the board of governors of Illinois's state colleges and universities, based in Springfield, since 1985. One of the first issues he will face will be Mississippi's decades-old lawsuit over desegregation of its higher-education system. A federal judge last month rejected portions of a plan that would have closed a historically black university and a predominantly white women's university. The judge also ordered the state to set up more graduate programs at two historically black institutions. Mr. Layzell replaces Ray Cleere, who is leaving July 1 to become the director of the Southern Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern Mississippi.

--Adrienne D. Coles

Vol. 14, Issue 29

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