Leadership Lite

School Administrator, August 2015


LL2Pigskin Diplomacy

Warren Van Zee, now retired, spent much of his career as an educator overseas, including superintendencies of school districts that served U.S. military families in Madrid, Spain, and Vicenza, Italy.

It was during his posting in Madrid that he got an urgent request from concerned military leadership. It seems the superintendent overseeing the schools in Italy at the time had refused to allow the students to play American-style football. She preferred the version of football that only Americans call soccer.

In a behind-the-scenes diplomatic move, the military asked Van Zee to swap jobs. The two superintendents did just that, leading to American football ultimately being played at the schools in both Spain and Italy.

Source: Kitsap Sun


Dig That Nickname

The students who compete in athletics at Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah, do so as the Beetdiggers.

The name hearkens back to the years when Sandy was a rural outpost, whose economy revolved around vegetable farming. In those days, students would be dismissed early to help farmers pick the sugar beets.

Though sugar beet crops have long left the local economy, the opening school assembly each year includes student government leaders taking a bite out of a sugar beet to recall their school’s past.

Source: High School Today


An Appetizing Contest

One of the tastiest rivalries in high school sports is the annual Snack Bowl that pits the Freeport Pretzels against the Monroe Cheesemakers.

The two scholastic competitors — in Freeport, Ill., and Monroe, Wis. — vie for a traveling trophy that goes home with the school with the most victories in head-to-head sports contests. The schools are located 25 miles apart.

Monroe calls itself the Swiss Cheese Capital of the USA. Freeport is known as Pretzel City from its heritage as home to German pretzel bakeries.

A Passing Wonder

Martin Bates wasn’t one of the athletic performers in uniform on the playing field of the homecoming football game at Olympus High School in the Granite, Utah, School District last fall. But he demonstrated quite a throwing arm during the game just the same.

The school district photographer caught Bates, who is the Granite superintendent, in action at half time demonstrating his arm strength as he tossed a bunch of free T-shirts into the crowd of student fans as a spirit promotion. The district’s website proclaimed that Bates set a “T-shirt pass completion record, with few interceptions.”

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. E-mail: magazine@aasa.org. Upon request, names may be withheld in print.