Leadership Lite
School Administrator, September 2018

How Not to Play Hooky
A lesson in how not to play hooky at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

On baseball’s opening day last spring, a 4th grader at Wells Elementary School in East Moline, Ill., proudly held high a homemade sign outside Wrigley’s main gate that stated “Skipping School … Shh. Don’t tell Principal Versluis.” Major League Baseball found the situation so quaint it tweeted a photo of it to 8.3 million Twitter users.

Once inside Wrigley, the student spotted the last person he wanted to see — principal Pat Versluis, who was taking a leave day to accompany his young son to the game. The gig was up for the two hooky players.

For Versluis, it was a rare personal leave day in six years as principal (and 19 years in the district) — and, yes, his day off had been sanctioned by the superintendent.

Ending on a High Note
Commencement ceremony speeches by superintendents usually aren’t the most memorable occasions. That’s not the case in the Hempfield School District in Landisville, Pa., where for the past six years, the superintendent has belted out a song loosely tied to the message of the day.

Brenda Becker, who retired as Hempfield superintendent in 2015, started the custom by reciting the chorus of a song popularized by Pink. Her successor, Chris Adams, has lent his voice to song at the last three ceremonies. His choice of song is influenced by students’ social media requests.

One year Adams closed out his speech with a verse from Charlie Puth’s “One Call Away.” This past June, he sent the graduates off into the world with a few bars from reggae artist Ben Harper’s song “With My Own Two Hands.”
SOURCE: Shannon Zimmerman, Hempfield School District

Maybe It’s the Clean Living
Milton High School may sit in the rural confines of central Pennsylvania, but the school has a knack for producing superintendents. With an enrollment of 650 students in grades 9-12, four products of the school now head school districts in the region.

“Just because you live in a small, rural town in Pennsylvania, it doesn’t mean you can’t go on to do great things,” says Chad Cohrs, superintendent in Selingsgrove.

The other Milton products are Patricia Cross, superintendent in Sullivan County; Jason Bendle, superintendent in Danville; and Brett Misavage, on leave as superintendent in Shikellamy.
SOURCE: Milton Standard

Wheeling the Tunes

When a car with open windows drove down the streets of West Bridgewater, N.J., with three teens belting the lyrics of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” the only thing out of the ordinary was who was behind the wheel — Patricia Oakley, the school superintendent.

It represented the most unusual episode of Oakley’s so-called “Superintendent Spotlight Carpool Karaoke,” an activity inspired by a recurring segment on a late-night TV comedy show. Oakley’s purpose behind her own series was to discuss school affairs with her car occupants during the amateur song fest. The three students were seniors serving on the superintendent’s advisory council.

“We used to just sit down and talk, but this sucks people in,” Oakley says.
SOURCE: West Bridgewater Wicked Local

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.