Leadership Lite
School Administrator, June 2022

If He Only Had a Delete Button

Jared Smith, superintendent of Iowa’s South Tama County School District, was in a Zoom meeting with several influential people. An employee walked into his school district office and asked to speak with him.

Thinking his microphone setting was on mute, Smith said: “Don’t worry. I’m just in a boring meeting.” It wasn’t long before he realized he was not on mute.

Later in the meeting, Smith said he apologized to everyone else on the video call.
A Virus Before Its Time

Several years back, Rodney Shotwell had to call a news conference when one of the elementary schools in Rockingham County, N.C., where he’s the superintendent, experienced an abnormally high absence rate owing to an outbreak of the H1N1 (Swine) flu. Parents had been questioning the school’s cleanliness.

In front of news cameras from five TV stations and a couple of newspaper reporters, Shotwell was about 15 minutes into explaining how school district staff were sanitizing desks and other surfaces when he momentarily forgot the flu’s official name. He began referring to it as the N1S1 virus. The press interviews went on for another 10 minutes.

After the press conference, the district’s communications officer and the school’s principal approached Shotwell with a question. “They asked if I had discovered a new virus — the dog flu N1S1. … Sometimes you just have to have the confidence in a press conference, even if your virus is yet to be discovered.”
Scrappy Fighters

How would you like to compete as the Battling Bathers?

That’s the nickname identifying interscholastic athletes in the Mount Clemens, Mich., schools, for the past 100 years.

A suburb of Detroit, Mount Clemens once was known as “Bath City, USA” because of the city’s lucrative tourism industry relating to bathhouses for curing various maladies.

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. Email: magazine@aasa.org. Upon request, names may be withheld in print.