Benton receives national honor
By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
June 24, 2004
Oakland Heights Principal Kim Benton said she was humbled when she received a special honor from the U.S. Department of Education: National Distinguished Principal for Mississippi.
Benton has been principal of Oakland Heights for nine years.
Meridian School Superintendent Sylvia Autry announced Benton's award at the school board's monthly meeting earlier this week.
Benton will receive a certificate and will travel to Washington in October to attend a reception hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige on Capitol Hill.
She also will attend a formal dinner at the U.S. Department of State; President George W. Bush is planning to attend.
Autry said she is proud of Benton's accomplishments.
Autry said Benton is a natural born leader and her determination has improved student achievement at Oakland Heights Elementary.
The National Distinguished Principals Program was established in 1984 as an annual event to honor exemplary elementary and middle school principals who set the pace, character and quality of the education children receive during their early school years.
The program is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Each year, one principal is chosen from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Public school principals are nominated by peers in their home states, and the final selection for each state's distinguished principal is made by the principal association's state affiliate. Honorees from private schools and overseas schools are selected by special committees.
The national distinguished principal must show a commitment to meet the academic and social needs of all students and establish community ties with parents and local business organizations.
They also must show a strong commitment to the principalship through active membership in professional associations; have the respect of students, colleagues, parents and community; and show a strong educational leadership by setting high expectations for school staff and students.