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Richard Alix refuses to call himself the best principal in the Defense Department’s school system.

“I would never do that,” he said Monday in a telephone interview.

Alix might not want to say he’s the best, but last week’s selection as the Department of Defense Education Activity’s 2007 principal of the year for elementary and middle schools says otherwise.

Alix, who has been at Naples Elementary School since 2004, is in his 27th year of working for the system that supports the dependents of servicemembers and DOD civilians across the globe. He said credit for the award goes to those around him.

“It’s a reflection of what we’ve been able to do both here and in Iceland,” he said, citing his prior stint as principal of A.T. Mahan Elementary School.

Alix said it takes strong efforts from pupils, parents, teachers and other faculty members to “form a strong learning environment.” He also thanked his superiors at the Mediterranean District Office in Vicenza for providing leadership and direction.

His direct supervisor, Assistant Superintendent Carl Albrecht, had nothing but praise for him in a brief telephone interview.

“Mr. Alix puts kids first,” he said. “Whatever’s good for kids is what he puts at the top of his list, and the school reflects that.”

Alix is actually principal at two schools. Naples Elementary has about 960 children. Gaeta Elementary has about 40.

Alix served as an assistant principal for 10 years before taking the job in Iceland. He started his teaching career in the organization in 1980.

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