Sue Clark is completing her third year as principal of Payson's oldest operating elementary school.
The old stone building, now the school's gym, was once the only schoolhouse in Payson. For the 2000-2001 school year, Julia Randall Elementary School has 389 students.
Clark cites a winning combination of quality staff members, students, parents and community members as the core strength of her school.
JRE's teachers "continually strive to do what is best for kids," its students "are topnotch, conscientious citizens who look out for each other," the support staff "provides highly professional help," and parents and community members "are continually ready to help out when needed," she said.
"As always, we need more technological resources," Clark said. While computers have just been placed in each JRE classroom, the school already needs another computer workstation. A printer in each classroom and more library books also would be helpful, she said.
One of the school's top achievements, Clark said, was installing computers with Internet access. "Students regularly utilize technology as part of their research projects," and the computers have also "contributed greatly to the success of our Accelerated Reading Program," she said.
The school also implemented the Character Counts program which encourages students to grow and become better school citizens, Clark said.
And finally, she said, the school added two awards assemblies each month so more students could be recognized for their achievements.
Arizona's ever-increasing emphasis on academic accountability is bound to have an impact on education in the Rim country, Clark said. But Payson schools have the right combination of good teachers, an informed and supportive community, and, to a large degree, students who are already held accountable for their academic success.