Local students National Merit semifinalists

A total of 72 Fulton County Schools students have been named semifinalists in the 53rd annual Nation Merit Scholarship Program and among those are six students from the two Sandy Springs high schools.

The Sandy Springs group includes North Springs High School students Benjamin A. Francis, Sean A. McGee and Sriram Velamuri and Riverwood High School students Margaret L. Mobley, Samuel N. Spetalnick and Aaron E. Tallman.

These students will now continue in the competition for 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards, which have a total value of $34 million. This is the first round of competition for students seeking the distinction of being named a National Merit Scholar and receiving scholarship money associated with it. Finalists will be named in the winter and the scholarship winners will be announced in the spring.

Students were identified through exceptionally high scores on the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which they took as juniors last school year. As semifinalists, the students now must fulfill several requirements in order to advance to the finalist round. They must have a record of high academic performance, be endorsed and recommended by their school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance.

Baskerville named Woodland principal

Ruth Baskerville has been named the new principal of Woodland Charter Elementary School in Sandy Springs.

Baskerville, who comes to Woodland from the Orange County School System in Florida, is a veteran educator with more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience. She has served as principal of Ivey Lane Elementary School in Orlando since 2005 and before that was a principal for seven years in New Jersey. She also has been a curriculum director, personnel director, adjunct college professor, assistant principal, and an English teacher.

Baskerville holds degrees from Fredonia State University and Seton Hall University. She succeeds Dr. Noris Price, who left Woodland to become an associate superintendent with Clarke County Schools.

Mount Vernon adds faculty

Seventeen new faculty members have joined the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School for the new academic year.

The new staffers include Kristen King, Martha Yudin, Christine Cooper, Elizabeth Jones, Mary Cantwell, Patrick Coffield, Heather Crane, Brian Huestis, Linda Kauffman, Katherine McGoldrick, Lauren Lewis, Katherine Yopp, Ronn Colanino, Jessica Wackerman, Danielle Heintz, Rhonda Robinson and Heather Bradford.

The Sandy Springs Christian school, which now houses preschool thru grade 12, is located at 471 Mount Vernon Hwy. Founded in 1972, the school now enrolls 815 students.