March 04, 2013

Announcing Healthy Schools Heroes 2013
Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion
Contact: Ellie Goldberg, M.Ed.  617 965-9637

Every year to mark the anniversary of the March 18, 1937 Texas School Explosion, I salute Healthy Schools Heroes whose extraordinary sense of responsibility and leadership is dedicated to protecting students and staff from chemical hazards and unhealthy school conditions.
This year’s Healthy Schools Heroes are both widely admired as teachers, consultants and colleagues and respected for their proven ability to help schools achieve excellence in science, pest control, and environmental quality. By example, each Hero is an inspiration to break the silence about school hazards and bring the Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion to today’s schools.  

Healthy Schools Heroes 2013

President, Science & Safety Consulting Service
Fayetteville, NC  

A force multiplier” Janet A. Hurley, MPA
 Extension Program Specialist II - School IPM
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 

Safety is a priority. Like previous Healthy Schools Heroes, their unshakable priority is safety. 

Continuous Improvement. Their websites, newsletters, manuals, workshops and other resources testify to their values as well as their deep understanding of the daily decisions and challenges of managing classrooms, budgets, facility maintenance and operations and community relations. They are tireless in their commitment to giving people the knowledge and competencies to enable them to do a good job and a safe job. 
Partnerships. Each is remarkably gifted in building enduring personal and high value professional relationships in many roles at many levels. They partner with school district administrators, science teachers, parent groups, facility managers and custodians, academic and research institutions and professional organizations. Their approach to training and consulting strengthens multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, and organizational connections. 

Accountability. They also have been instrumental in achieving the public policy and legislative initiatives that provide accountability. Their expert guidance is repeatedly called on to help schools resolve hazardous chemistry lab conditions or pest control problems, to help schools meet codes and regulations, and even win national recognition.
Professional Development. Linda does assessments, training and ongoing professional development to help schools comply with the North Carolina’s Act to Implement Science Safety Measures in the Public Schools. It requires local boards of education to certify that schools are properly equipped with safety equipment and pre-service teachers are properly educated on safety measures. Janet works to promote high quality implementation of the Texas' School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) law. It requires all school districts to have an integrated pest management program (IPM) and a designated IPM Coordinator.  

No one is alone. They listen. They learn. They teach. They care. They keep in touch. No one is alone with a question or a problem because Linda Stroud and Janet Hurley are only a phone call or email away.  

Janet Hurley and Linda Stroud both emphasize the value of face-to-face conversations as the key to their effectiveness and their ongoing satisfaction in their work. They have thousands of grateful admirers who benefit from their inspiring leadership and reap the daily reward of safer children and safer schools.  

Healthy Schools Heroes 2013

Inspiring Nominees. Two additional inspiring professionals deserve special recognition for reaching out as advocates for precautionary action and best practices in schools.

~ 0 ~

Background  The Healthy Schools Hero Award is part of a campaign to make March 18 a day to remember the worst school disaster in American history, a gas explosion that killed more than 300 people, mostly students, just minutes before the end of the day in their new state-of-the-art public school.

A case study and cautionary tale. This story needs to be part of our national legacy because the flaws that led to the tragic explosion are still too common in many schools today – false economies in school design, building, and operations, unheeded warnings and indifference to hazards and precautionary measures.

The Unfinished Legacy  As a result of the disaster, a law was passed to require adding a warning odor to natural gas, thus saving millions of lives all over the world. However, other important recommendations of the 1937 Court of Inquiry are still needed in most 21st century schools -- technically trained administrators for modern school systems, regular inspections and education about hazards, and a comprehensive safety code.

Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion is dedicated to making March 18 a day to honor the leaders who teach safely and teach safety and to inspire all schools to prioritize the values and technical skills necessary for living safely with 21st century chemicals and technology.

For more information contact: Ellie Goldberg,