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Principal nominated for state award

February 19, 2009|By JANET HEIM

SMITHSBURG -- Smithsburg Middle School Principal Michael Kuhaneck knew about the motivational basketball assembly for his students, but a surprise announcement between shows floored him.

Members of the school's student government had worked to put together a packet nominating Kuhaneck for the Wayne Perry Principal of the Year Award, he learned at the Feb. 5 assembly.

The award is given by the Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC), a division of the Maryland State Department of Education.

"Mr. Kuhaneck has a tremendous rapport with the kids," Lynn Izat, student government adviser for Smithsburg Middle School, wrote in an e-mail. "This is not rare for a teacher to achieve, but it is often difficult for this type of relationship to develop among administrator and student."

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The nomination required typewritten recommendations from two student government advisers, six student representatives, the regional president and regional adviser. One middle school and one high school principal will receive the award to be announced March 26 at the MASC convention.

The nomination announcement came along with assorted gifts in recognition of the nomination, including chocolate and a nod to his favorite NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I just want to thank all of you," Kuhaneck said after the announcement. "This means a lot to me regardless of where it goes or where it ends. The most important thing is the recognition from all of you."

Izat said the nomination is an honor because only one nomination per county goes to the state level, with Kuhaneck's nomination being the only one from Washington County. Some counties don't even submit a nomination because of lack of interest or unwillingness to complete the application.

Kuhaneck isn't one to rest on his laurels. Instead, he's got other goals for his students between now and the announcement of the award.

"For those of you who support me, continue to support me on my birthday. March 17 is MSA (Maryland State Assessments)," Kuhaneck said. "We've got to make sure we do it well."

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