DELTA JUNCTION (AP) -- Her staff says she ''has a mother's heart, is extremely knowledgeable, and has the skill to meld the two together.'' They especially appreciated Delta Elementary School principal Sandra M. Hill's efforts when the nearby Fort Greely School closed two years ago. Now Hill has been honored as the Alaska Distinguished Principal of the Year. The Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals will present the award to Hill in October.
When the Delta/Greely School District closed Fort Greely School in May 2000, laid off teachers and consolidated all grades at the Delta campus, Hill helped low morale with monthly all-staff meetings that included entertainment and refreshments, according to the nomination.
''It was a much-needed tonic for what ailed us,'' wrote one staff member.
It was a tough time for Hill, too. She was principal at Fort Greely from 1998 to 2000, after serving as Delta High principal from 1992 to 1998.
''I had to draw on every creative interpersonal skill I had,'' she said. ''Closure of the school was not popular with staff or community.''
Hill was also praised for her efforts to promote interaction between the staff and the community. Last year she started PRIDE, which stands for Partners Reaching, Investing & Developing Education, and keeps parents abreast of school happenings.
''Delta Junction is a small town, but Sandy makes it her business to know what is going on in the lives of her kids,'' wrote one supporter.
She has also been in the forefront of improvements in curriculum at the school, including integrating technology.
''The award is a validation of not only what I have done but the people who I work with,'' said Hill. ''I love being in school.''
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