Nov. 8, 2007
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
SRU education alumna receives national honor
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -- Sandra Scurle Kalin, a 1964 SRU education graduate, has received the 2007 National Distinguished Principal Award from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Kalin was recognized for her management and leadership role at Bethel Lutheran School in St. Louis. The multicultural elementary school provides high-quality instruction that ensures students' success in preschool through eighth grade. More than half of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch and financial aid.
"We're a small private Christian school. Public schools have as many as 600 students. For us to receive this award is incredible," she said.
Kalin received the award in Washington, D.C. The 2007 Distinguished Principal program honors 61 elementary school principals nationwide who are exceptional principals. The Evangelical Church of America named Kalin the 2007 Elementary Principal of the Year.
She joined Bethel Lutheran School in 1994. "When I took over, the school was closing," she said. She rebuilt the school over many years through innovative programming and successfully lobbying for community support.
Kalin said her school was the first in the country to achieve national accreditation through the Evangelical Lutheran Education Association under a new process emphasizing outcome-based education. She began the self-study process that focuses on learning results instead of teaching input.
She spearheaded a movement to have her building outfitted for wireless computers and to obtain laser printers, data video projectors, digital camcorders and laptops at minimal cost.
Since leaving Slippery Rock University, Kalin has taught all subjects, but particularly science. She held various teaching and administrative positions in elementary and middle schools in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Missouri. Still, she credits her alma mater with providing a solid foundation.
"There is so much that I have used from what I gained in classes at Slippery Rock," she said. "I really learned to love books and literature, as well as science, from the classes I took. I've tried to take the very best of what I learned at Slippery Rock and put it in place here."
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.