Saturday, September 13, 2003

Principal wins recognition


Fort Wright Elementary leader 'dedicated'

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

FORT WRIGHT - The school year started less than a month ago, but lessons from Fort Wright Elementary School Principal Margaret Hoffman have already made an impact.

"She tells us every day that if you want to have a good day, the choice is yours. If you want to have a bad day, the choice is yours," said first-grader Garrett Jones. "She's really nice and a good principal."

So good that she has been named the 2003 National Distinguished Principal for Kentucky. She was honored in a surprise ceremony at her school Friday and will be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and National Association of Elementary School Principals Nov. 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C.

The Walton resident has been in education for 35 years - 18 as a teacher at St. Pius X and Caywood Elementary, and the last 17 in her current post.

"I was in her school years ago and was impressed with her programs back then," said Walton-Verona Elementary School Principal Tom Williams, who nominated Hoffman for the award that he won in 2001. He noted the school always has ranked high.

In the last decade, the school has been five for five in exceeding the state-set goal on accountability tests. The attendance rate is at 97 percent.

"I'm honored that he thinks our school is so good and that I deserve this award," Hoffman said of Williams. "I just want all children in this school to receive a good education and enjoy learning."

Ten were nominated for the award. The group was narrowed to four. Then a six-member committee of statewide principals visited the four schools and interviewed children, teachers and parents.

When it came time to vote, the decision was unanimous.

Hoffman is most proud of three programs she put in place: the Golden Work Ethic Award, given three times a year to worthy students; the Student Assistance Team, where teachers make referrals for students who need academic or emotional help; and Principles of Learning Walk-Through, where staff observe students in a class, asking them questions and offering suggestions to the teacher.

"She is such a strong institutional leader and has truly dedicated her life to her school," said Kenton County Superintendent Susan Cook.

Her biggest supporter may be her sister, Rosemary Hoffman, a guidance counselor at Piner Elementary School who won the state's Outstanding Elementary School Counselor award last year.

The sisters have a combined 72 years worth of experience in education.

"I'm not surprised she won," said Rosemary. "She's worked very, very hard over the years and has a great program in place."




TOP STORIES
Ach surrenders on check charge
Afghans revel in freedom
Condo buying booms in OTR

IN THE TRISTATE
Firehouse price tag growing
Naked in the garden
Schools add fitness center
Jarvi to be a pop
Hard on a scholar - giving up his books
Picture of the day: Up there showing off
Regional Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: Rumors fly around Cincinnati's Blue Ash Airport
Howard: Good Things Happening
McNutt: Black Walnut Festival will celebrate autumn

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Court reporter lauded
Event celebrates Deerfield
Edgewood's new field house is a source of community pride
Daughter of longtime Mason doctor opens animal hospital in hometown
Circling plane creates phone panic

OBITUARIES
John Aber, 52, writer and college professor
Gloria A. Byrd, 45, founded Kenwood day spa and salon
Kentucky obituaries

OHIO
Blackwell proposes repealing tax boost
Satan worshiper gets death in killings of 3
Funeral home's owner convicted of corpse abuse
Groups fear anti-gambling law could curtail charitable efforts
Man handcuffed to steering wheel pulled from burning car
Wisconsin boy missing over a year found in Ohio
HBO boosts 'Shaker Heights'
Bush plans to visit Sept. 30
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
UK announces record enrollment, rise in black students
Teachers want out of medical duties
Fletcher campaign is first with TV ads
Fletcher's trove double Chandler's
Junk TV? Hebron man shows gift for garbage
Suit filed to overturn Lexington smoking ban
Racist fliers offend, anger many
Principal wins recognition
Truants' moms ordered to court
Kentucky News Briefs