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Profile Bester Elementary

August 14, 2005

Kathy Kretzer Stiles

Age: 44

Personal: She and her husband of six years, Henry Stiles, live outside Boonsboro.

Education: Stiles attended Emma K. Doub Elementary School and E. Russell Hicks Middle School and graduated from South Hagerstown High School.

She graduated from Hagerstown Junior College in 1980. She went on to get her bachelor's degree in social work from James Madison University, a teaching certificate from Shepherd College and a master's degree in educational leadership from Hood College in 1997.

Work experience: Stiles worked for a few years as a social worker and for the United States Postal Service before becoming a sixth-grade language arts teacher at E. Russell Hicks Middle School in 1989. She was a third- and fifth-grade teacher for four years at Old Forge Elementary School and a reading teacher for one year at Conococheague Elementary School.

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She served one year as assistant principal at Eastern Elementary School and three years as Greenbrier Elementary School principal.

She returned to Eastern Elementary School for two years before taking over the helm at Bester.

Volunteer experience:

Member of Hagerstown Community College's Alumni Association board of directors

Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, member of the fundraising and auction committees and former member of the board of directors

President of Girls Inc. of Washington County

Member of the South County Democratic Club

On leadership: "I think one thing (about being) a principal, you have to be willing to do exactly what you're asking teachers to do ... I'm not in the office very much because I like to be out with the kids."

On building relationships with parents: "You have to develop a good relationship with parents. If a parent sees that you care about their child, and you want him to succeed, then they'll do anything they can for you."

On teaching in a high-poverty area: "I get tired of hearing these students can't do it, and I think that's one of the reasons I'm so passionate about this. How can anyone give up on a child and say when a child is 5 years old, this child can't learn?"

On Bester's test scores: "If you're saying 60 percent are making it, it's a sin because 40 percent did not."

On offering interventions to struggling students: "It's all about giving them more time."

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