Humor                                                               Page 52


Leadership Lite


Maybe She Shouldn’t Have Asked
As superintendent of the Community Consolidated School District 15 in Palatine, Ill., Scott Thompson was walking the hallways of an elementary school, accompanied by a somewhat nervous, newly appointed principal who was clearly trying to make a good impression on her new boss.

The two administrators crossed paths with a cheery 1st grader. The principal asked the youngster how his day was going.

“Great!” he responded. Then the principal asked: “Do you know who this is?”

“Yes,” the boy quickly remarked, “he’s the stupidintendent!”

The principal was unnerved, but Thompson’s big laugh about his distorted job title was a calming influence. Then turning to the boy, he said: “I am sure there are some people who would think you are absolutely right!”

David’s been the superintendent in Aquilla for three years, but since Ricky got his appointment to the top job in Abbott in April 2011, the varsity football showdown last October was the first with them representing opposite sides among the longtime school rivals. Their small high schools, each with about 300 students, play six-man football in the same athletic conference, and the 2011 contest was promoted as the “Marquee Matchup” of the week by a Waco television station.

The two brothers watched the game together in the end zone as Aquilla’s high school earned the bragging rights for the year, 31-24. They will renew the rivalry on Nov. 9.

Clooney’s Crack
When he was a young teenager, actor George Clooney already was perfecting his skills as an entertainer. As a high schooler, he targeted his community’s school superintendent as the butt of a joke.

Clooney was dealing at the time with a case of Bell’s palsy, a kind of paralysis that leads to dysfunction in the facial nerves. He made light of the matter by deflecting attention from his condition. He lampooned a superintendent who had suffered a stroke, exaggerating his own paralysis to create a dead-on impersonation.

Clooney came to lament his badly considered stunt. He admitted to the Hollywood Reporter, in an interview in 2012, that he remains mortified to this day by the misguided humor. “There are terrible things you do as a kid,” Clooney said. “You developed a personality, sometimes for good, sometimes for ill.”

Rekindling Kindergarten
Ann Clark was one of two finalists in last summer’s school board search for a new superintendent in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. While disappointed by the final outcome, she found an upside to the experience.

Clark, who remains the chief academic officer in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, said the wide publicity over her run for the top school system job inspired many former students to get in touch, including individuals now in their mid-30s whom she taught as kindergarten students. “I heard from kids from all over the globe,” she said.

Taunting the Boss
As a superintendent facing plenty of tough challenges, Cynthia Lane isn’t a stranger to criticism of her policies and practices. But what about jeers that come from 11-year-old students?

“I’ll leave her behind with the dust from my feet,” declared one elementary school student mocking the superintendent of the Kansas City, Kan., district, just before both took off in the Are You Faster Than a Fifth Grader? running challenge, a countywide event to promote better health practices.

Not long into the two-mile race, which involved nearly 400 pupils, Lane called out for water, which drew playful derision. The announcer on loudspeaker laid it on even thicker for the big boss when he asked: “Do we need a defibrillator?”

(Source: Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Mo.) 





Short, humorous anecdotes, quips, quotations and malapropisms for this column relating to school district administration should be addressed to:
Editor, School Administrator
1615 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703-841-1543

Upon request, names may be withheld in print.


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