W.Va. principal to travel to United Arab Emirates

November 22, 1996


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Berkeley County educator leaves Saturday for a 10,000-mile flight to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, where he will lecture other educators in a conference sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Rodney Woods, 49, has been principal at Valley View Elementary School in southern Berkeley County for 10 years. He has been an educator for 27 years.

He will speak at the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools conference in Abu Dhabi. Attending will be more than 250 American educators from elementary and middle schools working in more than 100 foreign countries.


Their schools serve the children of Americans who work overseas, including State Department, military and other government personnel, as well as the children of private citizens working in foreign countries. The program provides the children an American education.

The Abu Dhabi conference is one of six being held by the State Department this fall around the world, Woods said.

He said he will speak on the use of technology in the West Virginia school system and the ongoing effort to place computers in state schools. He will also focus on the future of education in the Mountain State based on his involvement in the planning and design of the new Potomack Intermediate School, now under construction in the county's north end. Woods will become principal of the new school when it opens in 1998.

"The purpose is to give American school administrators working overseas an idea on what's happening in education back here at home," Woods said.

Woods is going to the Middle East because of his membership on the board of directors of the 27,000-member National Association of Elementary School Principals. As a board member, he represents elementary and middle school principals in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. He was elected to the board in 1995, one of 15 members whose duties include one foreign tour during their three-year term.

"Each board member is expected to do an overseas consultation," Woods said.

The State Department will pay Woods' expenses and those of his wife, Cindy, who will accompany him, except for her round-trip air fare, he said.

The couple will leave from Dulles International Airport on Saturday, fly to Rome for two days, then go on to the Persian Gulf.

The conference runs from Nov. 26 to Dec. 1. Woods' party will attend a cookout at the home of the U.S. ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and take a night cruise on the Persian Gulf on a private yacht, he said.

A major oil producing nation, the United Arab Emirates was founded in 1971 and 1972 by a federation of seven individual Arab states. It is bordered by the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and Saudi Arabia.

It's the world's third richest country, Woods said.

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