WOODBINE - Every morning, Woodbine Elementary School superintendent/principal Lynda Anderson Towns spends time during breakfast greeting the 220 pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students who come her into her building.

The personal touch, which extends to activities that include classroom visitations and observations, grade-level meetings, teacher conferences and building checks, is part of Anderson Towns' effort to provide excellence to the students in her building. In her opinion, that is her job. It's the parents role to let her know when greatness is not being reached. If that happens, the responsibility shifts back to Anderson-Towns to make the improvements to raise quality.

It is educators' challenge to inspire parents and to push them more to think about their children's educational journey.

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"They (parents) should do the hard work. If you do the hard work and set the foundation now, for the challenges that are to come, you will be able to navigate them more easily," said Anderson-Towns, who added children will want to do what they like, but only parents can see or know what their children will face in the future.

Anderson-Towns is in unique position to understand the struggles that parents face in trying to educate their children, especially those in single-parent households. Anderson-Towns grew up as one child in a family of seven children, who was raised by her single-parent mother.

The superintendent/principal and her six siblings are all college graduates.

Anderson-Towns, who has been here for the past five years, also had experience as a teacher and administrator in richer districts. Anderson-Towns worked 14 years as a reading and English teacher at Middle Township High School, four years as the vice principal at Elementary # 2 in Cape May Court House and three years as principal at Maud Abrams School in the Lower Township School District.

From being in other districts, Anderson knows the benchmarks she wants her students to achieve.

"The Africans-Americans in Cape May County should continue the hard work they have done to reach where they have reached and continue to encourage the young people to strive for that and beyond, and that's where we need to be," Anderson-Towns said.

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