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Maxine Smith, a former member of the Memphis, Tenn., school board, has been named the "urban educator of the year" by the Council of the Great City Schools, based in Washington.

The council honored Ms. Smith with the Richard R. Green Award for outstanding contributions to urban education. It is given annually in memory of the late Richard R. Green, who headed the Minneapolis and New York City public schools in the 1980s.

The legacy of Ms. Smith, who served nearly a quarter-century on the Memphis board, is still being felt despite her departure from the board in 1995, the council said in announcing the award.

She is known for her pioneering efforts in civil rights and as a tireless advocate of educational excellence for children in the 110,000-student district. Ms. Smith was the first African-American to serve on the board, and her efforts led to the appointment of the district's first black superintendent.

As part of the award, which is co-sponsored by the Downers Grove, Ill.-based ServiceMaster Co., Ms. Smith received a $10,000 college scholarship to give to the student of her choice.

The council is a coalition representing 49 of the nation's largest urban school districts.

The Child Care Action Campaign has selected Faith Wohl to lead the national nonprofit advocacy organization.

Ms. Wohl is currently the director of the office of workplace initiatives at the U.S. General Services Administration. She has been recognized for her accomplishments in family and workplace issues by several national and community organizations. She will begin her new job as president in December.

The child-care campaign, based in New York City, works to strengthen families, improve education, and advance the well-being of children. The group builds partnerships between communities, schools, and business leaders to improve child care and early education.

The Southern Regional Education Board has named James A. Watts its vice president of state services.

The former teacher, principal, and education specialist for the North Carolina legislature will coordinate the SREB's daily working relationships with state education and government leaders and their staffs. In that role, Mr. Watts will supply information about trends, legislative proposals, and budget actions affecting education.

The Atlanta-based SREB is an interstate compact for education that has 15 member states throughout the South.

--ADRIENNE D. COLES [email protected]

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