School & District Management A National Roundup

Obituary: ‘Dollar-A-Year’ Principal Dies

April 05, 2005 1 min read
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John Dunworth, an educator who came out of retirement to work for $1 a year as the principal of a rural Florida school that faced closing, died March 28 at his home in Pensacola, Fla. He was 81 and had a blood disorder.

Mr. Dunworth’s offer to serve as the principal of Munson Elementary School in Munson, Fla., saved the 83-pupil school and gained him a measure of renown.

Mr. Dunworth wrote about his success there during the 1997-98 school year in a 2000 book, The Dollar-A-Year Principal: Miracle at Munson. He said he hoped his experience would inspire others to turn around lagging school performance.

The former 8th grade teacher and superintendent of the Santa Ana, Calif., school district made his decision after reading in the newspaper that the Florida school might be shut down because of its low test scores and declining enrollment.

Taking the job in Munson “was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made, really,” he told Education Week in 1997. The school is still open.

The Los Angeles native had a 50-year education career that included serving as the president of Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn., and as the president of the board of directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

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