Manhattan Beach Intermediate School Principal Billie Jean Knight has been named California's 1992 Principal of the Year.
Knight, who has been principal of the school since 1986, was selected by state affiliates of the National Assn. of Secondary School Principals for her success in raising her students' California Assessment Program scores, boosting morale on campus, and involving parents and members of the business community in the school program.
"She's a visionary," said Jerry Davis, the school district superintendent who nominated her for the award. Knight and her staff excel at organizing classes so children can receive more individual instruction, he said.
McKinley Nash, chairman of the Assn. of California School Administrators selection committee, said the 45-year-old Knight was chosen because she is an exemplary principal who has "the ability to develop the students' sense of self-esteem, clarify difficult questions, and develop a desire for inquiry."
Knight says her role is to promote good teaching--and not just in school.
"My responsibility is to empower parents--as their children's first and foremost teachers, and my staff, to be the very best they can be," she said. "It's my job to take the roadblocks out of the way."
Knight will fly to Washington in September for a symposium where the national principal of the year will be selected.
Last year, Manhattan Beach Intermediate received national acclaim under Knight's leadership when it was cited by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School, one of only three schools in Los Angeles County so designated.
"I've always loved kids," Knight said. "They're our future."