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When Richard Kendell cleans out his locker at the Davis School District administration building in January and leaves for a job in the "real world," like most of his students he'll take his yearbooks full of memories.

If grades were given to superintendents, he'd also deserve a GPA at the top of his class.Kendell has directed the Davis School District for 10 years and has seen the district enrollment grow 16 percent during that time. He has also been at the helm while issues such as prayer at graduation, state funding for schools and sexual harassment brought new types of pressure to the job.

Involved in education as a teacher and administrator at many levels, Kendell is trading the academic life for a job as business and government project manager for the Boyer Co. He also plans to do consulting work and some writing, primarily for educational journals.

During his decade with the Davis District, Kendell has made changes that reflect the evolution of Utah schools and the new challenges faced by education leaders in this state.

His administration devised a new way to monitor and give high school credit for citizenship, separately from academic achievement; under his guidance, the district developed new policies to deal with and prevent sexual harassment on campuses and violent incidents of hazing.

He worked for the "Robin Hood" law to make school districts more equal in funding for construction and spent many hours talking to legislators about education's needs.

Kendell has directed efforts in the district to computerize schools. This fall, the last of 69 schools were connected to the Internet and the district's wide-area network. The district is sound financially, and Kendell has earned praise from his staff and his peers.

He was named Utah Superintendent of the Year in 1993 and was a finalist for the national Superintendent of the Year.

Education will lose a fine leader and strong advocate when Kendell leaves. It will be the "real world's" gain.