Sunflower School Principal Janet Broers will be honored next week in Washington as one of the distinguished principals in the United States for 1998.
One look in Sunflower School Principal Janet Broers' office and it's obvious she's tuned into her students.
Their artwork adorns her office walls and sits atop her desk.
Gifts the students have given her decorate her work space and her door is open, allowing free access to her desk as she works.
Broers' dedication isn't just obvious to the students at her school. It's apparent to her peers as well.
Broers has been named one of 61 recipients of the 1998 National Distinguished Principals award by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).
She and the other principals will be honored with an awards banquet Oct. 9 in Washington, D.C.
Broers received the 1997 Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals award, making her the Kansas nominee for the national award.
``I knew I had been nominated, but there are a lot of good people who are principals and they work very hard,'' she said.
Broers is the first Lawrence principal to receive the national award.
She began her career as a principal at Cordley School 13 years ago, and moved to Sunflower when it opened five years ago.
Prior to that she taught in Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley and Doniphan County schools, covering everything from home economics to special education.
Broers spent so much time in the classroom, she didn't think of moving to the administrative side until a principal she taught under at Blue Valley suggested it.
``I said, `I don't want to do that,''' Broers said.
Her principal convinced her to take Kansas University professor George Crawford's course, ``The Principalship.''
``I took the course and then I decided I was interested,'' Broers said.
It turned out she wasn't just interested; she is heavily involved in the lives of her students.
She encourages students to drop by and take advantage of her open-door policy.
``She likes good news to be shared,'' Sunflower first/second-grade teacher Jacque Shipstead said. ``She talks to students about coming to the principal's office to talk about good things.''
Broers also creates an atmosphere conducive to learning, Shipstead said.
``She's very professional and cares about the community of the school and staff,'' she said. ``She came here with a plan for a great school and has carried through.''
Broers said her most effective teaching tool is also the most basic: planning what's best for the students at her school.
Broers said her goal is to create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable and want to learn.
``I want to give them the confidence to achieve things they might not otherwise,'' she said.
NAESP represents 27,000 elementary and middle school principals nationwide. The program to honor outstanding principals began in 1984 and recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to their schools and communities.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.