Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Principal Praises Teachers `Blue-Ribbon' Devotion Earns National Honor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Principal Praises Teachers `Blue-Ribbon' Devotion Earns National Honor

Article excerpt

Some mornings Wynn Miller drags a rocking chair from his office to the front hall of Old Bonhomme Elementary School in Olivette.

Miller sits in the chair, greets children and does a few magic tricks.

"One of a principal's greatest problems is to get cloistered," Miller, 50, said last week. "You have to make time to work with children."

Miller has been making time to work with children for 26 years in the Ladue School District, 11 of those years as principal at Old Bonhomme.

Earlier this year, federal officials named the school a Blue Ribbon School, an award for excellence. The symbol of that award, a red, white and blue flag, flies outside the school.

Today and Tuesday Miller plans to visit Washington as a national distinguished principal from Missouri.

Ed Hightower will represent Illinois as a national distinguished principal. Hightower is principal of Eunice Smith Elementary School in Alton.

The two are among 60 principals from the United States and U.S. schools abroad who will get bells and certificates Tuesday from Richard Riley, the U.S. secretary of education.

Miller and Hightower were picked by former national distinguished principals based on guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary Principals.

Miller never intended to become a principal. But as a gym teacher in a junior high school, he became concerned about some students' indifference to learning.

"It seemed to me that all students needed was to be nurtured at a lower level," Miller said.

Miller went back to school, got additional training and a doctorate degree and went to Old Bonhomme. The school has 425 pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade.

One pupil, C.J. Whitelaw, stopped at Miller's rocking chair last week to show off a plastic container full of caterpillars. Several parents waved as they walked with their children through the hall. …

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