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Former North Hagerstown principal named group's Woman of the Year for 2008

October 03, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

Jane Guyton said that when she was being considered for the position of North Hagerstown High School principal in 1988, the joke was that her wardrobe put her over the top.

"The joke was they chose me because I had the most red in my closet," said Guyton, noting that red is the school's color.

But what really got her the job as the first woman high school principal in Washington County was her depth of experience as a dedicated teacher and administrator.

All that and more contributed to her being named the Business and Professional Women's Club Woman of the Year for 2008.

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"I was very surprised and amazed," Guyton said of the recent honor.

As North High principal from 1988-1991, Guyton directed the school through a major evaluation and accreditation, and planned for major renovations to the school on Pennsylvania Avenue.

She said she also experienced 18 bomb threats and a measles scare that prompted the health department to require all students to get booster shots.

Guyton, who started teaching in 1956, earned her undergraduate degree from Hood College and her master's degree from Shippensburg University.

Guyton said she was lucky to have come into the field of education at a time when closed-circuit television instruction was beginning to emerge in Washington County. She was involved in the 1956 workshop that led to the innovative educational approach.

"I taught 12th-grade English from the studio," Guyton said.

From 1960 and 1967, Guyton took time off from teaching to raise two sons.

"When I came back to work in the spring of 1967, there was an opening at North Potomac Junior High School, but I took the TV job teaching 12th-grade English again," she said.

During the time she was off, the program flourished. There was more staff and better studios for the TV classes, and there even were remote telecasts.

Guyton said when she is out in public it's not unusual for former students to recognize her as their TV teacher.

"We just had a reunion of the TV staff in late September and there were about 100 in attendance," she said.

For six years after she "retired," Guyton was the part-time Tech Prep coordinator for public schools and area colleges with the business and professional community.

Now, she is involved with Bible study and two committees at her church, Trinity Lutheran. She and her husband Gerald also volunteer for Maryland Symphony Orchestra activities.

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