One principal rode the school bus to encourage a young student. Others made it part of their jobs to learn golf, do the Electric Slide and kiss a pig.
They were among the 17 principals who received The Washington Post's annual Distinguished Educational Leadership Award last night in recognition of their efforts to go beyond the daily demands of their positions in creating exceptional environments for education.
One winner was chosen by the public school systems in each of 16 Washington area jurisdictions, based on nominations from students, colleagues, supervisors and other community members. Another winner represented the area's private schools.
Based on excerpts from the nominations, which were read at the award ceremony by Donald E. Graham, chairman of The Washington Post, the winners combined a commitment to education with the talents and techniques of the best administrators anywhere.
In describing Eugene Bridgett, principal of Calvert High School in Calvert County, Graham told the winners that "like so many of you, he welcomes new ideas."
One of Bridgett's innovations was the launching of Saturday classes for students who needed the extra work. As one who goes the extra mile, Bridgett shows up on Saturdays to teach, according to those who recommended him for the award.
The bus rider was Kelly M. Hall of Leonardtown Elementary School in St. Mary's County, who accompanied a student who feared the trip.
The pig kisser was Susan P. Browning, principal of Loudoun County's Seldens Landing Elementary School. Her osculation honored the reading of 10,000 books by her students.
Doing the Electric Slide before a dance was listed among many ways in which Vicky Stultz went above and beyond the demands of her job at Middletown Elementary School in Frederick County.
The golf lessons were taken by Mary L. Walker of Beacon Heights Elementary School in Prince George's County, who, it was said, believed the game might acquaint her with business leaders who could help her pupils.
A variety of other ideas, abilities and practices won plaudits. Of Ann T. Lewis, of Ferry Farm Elementary School in Stafford County, it was said that she could "charm even the most disagreeable parent." Brenda J. Lewis of Loch Lomond Elementary School in Prince William County was hailed as one who "even shovels snow."
Students recommended Ruth P. Nelson of Taylor Middle School in Fauquier County as one who "also helps with locker jams" and Robert L. Hindman, of Zachary Taylor Elementary School in Arlington County, as a man tall enough to "get kites out of trees."
Other winners, their schools and systems: Allan D. Arbogast, Ridgeway Elementary, Anne Arundel County; Susan B. Griffith, Mayfield Woods Middle, Howard County; Sharon B. Raimo, St. Coletta of Greater Washington, a private school; David I. Steinberg, Colonel Zadok Magruder High, Montgomery County; Audra F. Sydnor, Liberty Middle, Fairfax County; Deborah Z. Thompson, Douglas MacArthur Elementary, Alexandria, Angela M. Tilghman, Myrtilla Miner Elementary, the District, and Joseph B. Warfield, Milton M. Somers Middle, Charles County.