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The four finalists who have been chosen for the 1996 National Teacher of the Year program met last week in Washington for their final interviews with a national selection committee.

The committee will pick a winner, who will be announced by President Clinton at a White House ceremony next month. The finalists, each of whom is the current teacher of the year for his or her state, are:

Fie K. Budzinsky of Connecticut, who teaches chemistry at Portland High School in Portland. She said her teaching centers around her belief that all students can learn science and that students are more different than alike.

Daniel H. Durbin of Indiana, who teaches literature, writing, and communication at the F.J. Reitz High School in Evansville. He has created a clothing bank for students and has helped some of his students find jobs.

Mary Beth Blegen of Minnesota, a teacher of history, humanities, and writing at Worthington Senior High School in Worthington. Her goal in teaching is to expose students to a multitude of ideas and situations while asking them to connect, create, and analyze.

Patricia J. Cygan of Washington state, a social-studies teacher at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. Ms. Cygan said she believes that her success as a teacher is measured by how well she helps students understand themselves, others, and the interplay of human beings with natural forces.

The program, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic Inc., each year selects a winner from among the teachers of the year in each of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools.

Raymond Arveson, Louisiana's superintendent of schools, has announced his retirement, stating that he will not renew his contract.

Mr. Arveson, 74, whose contract ended in December, has been state superintendent since April 1992. He will remain with the state until a new superintendent is hired.

The state board of elementary and secondary education has begun a search for his replacement.

--Adrienne D. Coles

Vol. 15, Issue 25

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