Swansfield principal coming back home


June 10, 1998|By Kathy Curtis | Kathy Curtis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SWANSFIELD Elementary School's incoming principal, Earl Slacum, said he will be "going back home" when he starts his new job July 1. Slacum, who is the principal of Rockburn Elementary School, taught at Swansfield when he first came to Howard County in 1983.

He will replace Karen Ganjon, who has served as principal of Swansfield since 1995. Ganjon will take over as head of Pointers Run Elementary School, replacing Andy Barshinger, who has been named principal of Guilford Elementary School.

Slacum has served as principal of Rockburn since it opened in 1993. In that time, enrollment went from about 300 students to more than 500.

When Rockburn opened, it drew students from three communities. Slacum said his most significant accomplishment was bringing the groups together to create a school with strong community support.

He added that Rockburn has been recognized for being a full inclusion school for students with special needs, and for significant improvement in MSPAP scores.

Slacum was honored by the Maryland Council PTA in 1996 as Educator of the Year.

A native of Cambridge on the Eastern Shore, Slacum began his career in the Baltimore public school system and taught at the Lida Lee Tall Laboratory School at Towson State University before coming to Howard County.

In addition to three years at Swansfield, Slacum has worked at Dasher Green, Phelps Luck and Stevens Forest elementary schools.

Lewis no longer 'acting'

Howard County schools Superintendent Michael E. Hickey has authorized Atholton High School Principal Connie Lewis to drop "acting" from her title. The former assistant principal has served as acting principal since Dec. 1, when Principal Jim McGregor went on leave.

Graydon Webster, who was named acting assistant principal to replace Lewis, also has been promoted from acting to permanent status. Webster had previously served as social studies department chair.

Lewis, who is in her third year at Atholton, noted that she began making changes as soon as she was named acting principal. One of her initiatives has been offering incentives to students for attendance and good grades.

"The kids really enjoy it," she said. "It has made a big difference."

She said she also has focused on "trying to get the building up to snuff" technologically. She is hoping to expand the school's computer lab and to train more teachers in the uses of technology.

The school recently entered a partnership with the Lazarus Foundation, which refurbishes donated computers to give to nonprofit groups. The foundation is donating equipment to the school in exchange for access to the school building and assistance from students in rebuilding computers.

Lewis is also trying to set up a tutoring center at an apartment complex in Laurel to assist students who need extra help but cannot stay after school. Discussions are under way with Bowie State University to provide tutors.

"We have not been standing still while I was acting," said Lewis. Now that her position is permanent, she plans to continue her efforts in the next school year.

Team wins gold medal

The Special Olympics Howard County softball team won a gold medal in Division 2 at a tournament last month at Kiwanis-Wallas Park.

Team members include David Engler of Harper's Choice, Jimmy Miller of River Hill, and Bucky Buchanan, Mary Beth Schenk and John Riedy of Hickory Ridge.

David Engler, father of team member Engler, serves as head coach for the softball team. Among his assistants is Bob Johnson of Hickory Ridge.

The tournament had Special Olympics Howard County as host to qualify teams for statewide competition. Ninety-five athletes, representing five counties and Baltimore City, participated.

Teen sings in recital

Town Center resident Jessica Factor was one of eight teen-agers and adults invited to sing at the Peabody Prep Honors Recital recently at Peabody's Leakin Hall.

Jessica sang "Lascia ch'ia pianga," an aria from Handel's opera "Rinaldo," and "O Danny Boy," an Irish folk song. Jessica has studied voice with Helen Strine at Peabody Prep for five years.

Jessica, a junior at Wilde Lake High, is a member of the school choir. She recently portrayed the "Incomparable Rosalie" in Wilde Lake's spring musical "Carnival."

Assistant wins award

Linda Baer, an instructional assistant at Clarksville Middle School, won the 1998 Distinguished Assistant Award from the Howard County Public School System. The award was presented at a reception last month at River Hill High School.

Baer began volunteering at the school in 1985. She later worked as a substitute teacher before being hired as an instructional assistant for eighth-grade special education in 1993.

The Distinguished Assistant Award, which is new this year, honors outstanding assistants with at least two years of service in the county schools.

Jumpers place first

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