The Duncan Banner

Local News

September 26, 2013

Central High Elementary has Blue Ribbon spirit

Academic efforts rewarded

CENTRAL HIGH — Superintendent Benny Newton and Central High Elementary Principal LeAnn Johnson have known for three weeks their school had earned a Blue Ribbon.

But it was top secret until Wednesday, when the U.S. Department of Education released its embargo on the news. At 8:30 a.m. Oklahoma time, they were able to share the news with the entire staff and student population. In fact, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan revealed the schools via streaming video.

CH Board of Education members were the only other ones in on the confidential news prior to the public school address. Newton credits Johnson and the teachers for the prestigious academic award which only went to 286 schools nationwide. Only six Oklahoma schools were designated as Blue Ribbon Schools.

“It’s 90 percent her (Johnson).  She’s the one that stays on top of the curriculum and stays on top of the groundwork,” Newton said Thursday. But Newton’s praise didn’t cease with Johnson.

“One of the mainstays in our school in being so successful, is the unwavering support that we receive from our community and school board,” he said.

Newton has plenty of reason to be proud of the achievement. Being named a Blue Ribbon School does not come easy.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has existed for 31 years, but only 7,500 schools have achieved the award. This year, 50 private schools also were designated Blue Ribbon Schools.

Newton joined Central High School District in 1998-99, first as principal. At the time, Johnson was in the classroom. When Newton was named superintendent, he made Johnson his administrative assistant until she could complete her certification. He then named her elementary principal and has never regretted that decision.

“In my opinion, she’s the best, very dedicated and very hardworking at what she does,” he said. “One of her biggest attributes is she wants to succeed.”

Johnson was not able to be on campus Wednesday when the announcement was made to the entire district.

“She wants the entire district to succeed and works diligently at getting it done,” he said.

In November, a school assembly will be held once the award is brought to the district. A special recognition ceremony takes place Nov. 18-19 in Washington D.C.

“If you were to map out our course of action in achieving academic excellence, you would start with the community and go all the way through to the students, it would be a straight highway, with no turns or curves in it,” Newton said. “From community to school board to teachers and administration and students.”

In 2005-06, the district had 370 students, but the following year saw a huge increase, with the enrollment jumping to 408 students. It appears to have steadily increased since then, with 430 students as of this month. At the elementary campus, numbers are over 240 this month, Newton said.

To be considered for Blue Ribbon status, the state superintendent must nominate a school and then paperwork is submitted to the Dept. of Education for review. It is based on overall academic excellence or progress in improving student academic achievement.

“National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education,” said Duncan.

Text Only
Local News
  • jimmyseggstore.jpg Jimmy’s Egg set to open June 9

    A new Jimmy’s Egg restaurant will open in Duncan on June 9 and will begin interviewing job applicants later this month, the restaurant’s general manager said on Tuesday.
    The restaurant will seat about 150 and will employ 33 people, said Libby Shirra, the new general manager.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-15 Odesse Barnes Mug crop.jpg Fourth man accused of hiding Lane murder weapon

    The Stephens County District Attorney’s Office on Monday charged a fourth person in the Christopher Lane murder case.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slaying of former Duncan doctor shocks friends

    The deaths of former Duncan physician Bill Corporon and his teenage grandson at the hand of a onetime Ku Klux Klan leader left the beloved doctor’s friends in Oklahoma heartbroken and shocked on Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • file 3-17 BENCH Miles Sterling.jpg Competency hearing begins in Bench case

     A hearing to determine if Miles Bench is mentally competent to stand trial for murder began Monday in Stephens County District Court.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Skeletal remains found in pond

    More skeletal remains that may be linked to the death of a woman in 2006 have been discovered in a pond northeast of Bray this weekend, authorities said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Commissioners choose different bid in electric project

    A decision made a week ago was changed on Monday when Stephens County commissioners found liability coverage would not be provided.

    April 15, 2014

  • Tornado touches down in Stephens County, minor damage reported

    A tornado that touched down briefly east of Bray knocked down some power lines and a few trees, but did not injure anyone, Stephens County District 1 Commissioner Darrell Sparks said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Oddesse Barnes Another charge filed in Lane shooting death

    The Stephens County District Attorney's Office filed an accessory after the fact of murder in the firstdegree charge against a 22-year-old Duncan man in relation to the shooting death of Australian native Christopher Lane.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge Russell reverses course, stays put

    If the political instincts of G. Brent Russell are correct, attorney Ken Graham will be a shoe-in to be the next District Judge in Stephens County.

    April 14, 2014

  • Bill Corporon, former Duncan physician, slain in Kansas with grandson

    Dr. William Corporon, who practiced medicine for years in Duncan before moving to Kansas, and his 14-year-old grandson were shot to death on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan. by a gunman who went on to kill a third person at a nearby assisted living center.


    April 13, 2014