Has anyone ever been inspired by a school administrator?

I’m asking sincerely. I’m sure it happens. I just don’t know of any cases. I can think back and make a long list of teachers who got me excited about diverse topics, but administration is a thankless job, and there isn’t as much opportunity to interact with students in a positive way.

And then, of course, way too many administrators are craven bullies. Like the nameless “officials” who cut Lulabel Seitz’s commencement speech at the instant she criticized the school. It’s at about the 4 minute mark in this video, which also includes Seitz giving the uncensored version.

Here’s what was cut:

“The class of 2018 has demonstrated time and time again that we may be a new generation, but we are not too young to speak up, to dream and to create change, which is why, even when some people on this campus, those same people —” Seitz said before the mic went off. Her speech, then barely audible, continued, “… in which some people defend perpetrators of sexual assault and silence their victims.”

People in the audience began yell, “Let her speak!” School officials did not turn her microphone back on.

Seitz has accused another student of sexual assault, and the school administration closed ranks to silence her. But we can attach a name to at least one of them!

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the school’s principal, David Stirrat, stands by the decision, saying, “We were trying to make sure our graduation ceremony was appropriate and beautiful.”

How sweet. Are you also as concerned about making sure the sexual assaults on your students are appropriate and beautiful?

David Stirrat, you are why I do not have fond memories of any high school administrators, who were all button-down conservative a-holes who were more interested in providing cover for business and religious leaders in the community, and not at all about helping students.


  1. anchor says

    That a-hole made sure the ceremony was ‘appropriately’ remembered alright. He made it especially ugly.

  2. Dunc says

    Sure – the administrators at my school definitely inspired me. They inspired my life-long hatred of administrators and petty officials.

  3. anat says

    Well, many years after I graduated from high school, I read an interview with the man who became principal when I was in 12th grade. He was talking about overcoming his homophobia when his son came out to him as gay. I suppose that interview was inspiring to some people.

  4. says

    Someone needs to make a public address Ap for smartphones. Talk into your phone and the message will be transmitted via Bluetooth to every other phone nearby. Then also from those nearby phones to other nearby phones.. On and on.

    But in this case not really necessary. What she had to say got MUCH wider play than it ever would have had they not blocked her phone. Now millions know about the sexual (probable) predation at her school.

  5. drst says

    The principal of my junior high school was a total badass, actually, and funny. I would not say he was “inspiring” per se. Perhaps he stands out because he was not completely uninvolved or a total a-hole.

  6. muirmaid says

    When I was a child, the Superintendent of Schools for our rural school district was an awesome guy. If I remember correctly 45 years later, his name was John Bruin (or Bruun?). I remember, when I was in about second grade, reading aloud to him when he visited our elementary school, while he leaned forward with his elbows on his knees in intense interest. It wasn’t the last time I had personal interactions with him, and he remembered me between times. I’m sure his kind is few and and far between, but they’re out there (or at least they used to be).

  7. says

    m asking sincerely. I’m sure it happens. I just don’t know of any cases. I can think back and make a long list of teachers who got me excited about diverse topics…

    In smaller schools, in my experience, the administrators are, more often than not, former teachers.

    I have had some very positive experiences with the administration at my school growing up *mumble* years ago. Now, my daughter’s school’s administration are also extremely supportive. In both schools the admins were/are focused on the wellbeing of their students and have taken measures specifically to enable them to connect with their students.

  8. microraptor says

    The most memorable principal I had in high school was such because he was not high-school principal material and constantly talked-down to the students as if we were elementary school aged.

    He was a nice guy, but absolutely unfit for the position.

  9. petesh says

    The headmaster at my public [UK: secondary; in my case, semi-private] school was exceedingly remote though apparently fair. Then he took a sabbatical and married a Santa Barbara artist, and I went, hmmm. Then he retired to a gig at UCSB, I visited California and said WTF I’ll look him up. He turned out to be a world-class scholar of John Donne & the metaphysical poets, who still wore dark suits and was regarded fondly as very weird by his fellow faculty members. His wife was a real kick, and the whole experience taught me something. I guess I was inspired by a school administrator!

  10. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @university, yep.

    Never in k-12.

  11. sebloom says

    I’m not sure if I would say I have ever been inspired by any administrator at any school I taught at (over the last 4 decades), but Rocky Killian, the superintendent of schools in West Lafayette Louisiana has inspired me several times in his fight supporting public education. Google “Rise Above the Mark” to see information about the video he and his staff put together.

  12. sebloom says

    I’m not sure where the previous comment came from. Rocky Killian is superintendent of schools in the West Lafayette, INDIANA schools…sheesh. Time for a brain transplant!

  13. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Face transplant is easier and let’s you escape responsibility for all your past mistakes. Compared to brain transplants, I highly recommend it.

  14. JoeBuddha says

    Wouldn’t have worked for anyone in the choir or the band. I’ve USED microphones, but I’ve seldom really NEEDED them. I can fill the room without shouting.

  15. Susan Montgomery says

    As despicable as this is, I have to at least acknowledge the achievement in Epic Irony in this incident.

  16. numerobis says

    The principal at my high school was awesome. She fought with the province to ensure she could properly fund honours courses, science labs, and “technology” (shop, personal finance, and using a spreadsheet) — all of which the province kind of wanted to cut.

    She was taken out by glioblastoma a couple years after I graduated. Fuck that disease.

    Luckily her successor was great as well. One of my favourite teachers, she’d found a clause that said no more than X students in a class therefore she needed to split the class in two… which gave a proper student-teacher ratio, and helped me learn to write far better than in a large class. (The aforementioned principal backed her in that fight as well; they were allies).

  17. malachiconstant says

    I’ve been very impressed with the principal at the school I teach at. He seems to be in the hallway during almost every passing period and seems to know all 2000 students by name. He backs up and supports teachers (I mean he respects our grading and discipline decisions, not that he would defend any action), is able to find money for our science department when we need it, and is well respected amongst the faculty.
    He also apparently changed the school culture for the better, but that was a couple of years before my time. Apparently the students were very divided along racial lines and fights between groups of students were common. I haven’t seen any of that in my three years teaching there.
    He’s inspiring in the sense that he’s a competent administrator who actually seems to give a damn about the kids personally and holding them and us to a high standard. And in Texas, no less!

  18. beardymcviking says

    Actually, my school principal helped me a lot in grade 5 and 6 when I was struggling with bullying – basically told me things would get better, and I think he did the most to give me hope and get me through a pretty tough time. First adult I think I really respected (aside from my mum).

    This school principal however, deserves no respect at all.

  19. cormacolinde says

    I would say yes. The principal at my primary school was a really nice guy. Most students liked him a lot, and I had a good relationship with him. He guided a small group of us in some interesting activities, including photography. A great guy I still remember well and who certainly had a positive impact on my youth.

  20. magistramarla says

    As a few others here have mentioned, I attended a rather small school district. The principal of our high school was also the superintendent of the district. Mr. Studnicki’s son was my age, and had some physical and learning disabilities. I think that this gave Mr. Studnicki a much different perspective when it came to the needs of the students in the district.
    (Waves to malachiconstant @ #18) I also taught in Texas schools, and I’ve seen some real a-holes here. However, there was one at the school my oldest girl attended in the mid ’90s who was much like the one you described. He was quite impressive. After he retired, the school started to go downhill.

  21. ridana says

    I went to a very small school and was always ridiculously obedient to (read: terrified of) authority, so I never really had much interaction with my school superintendents.

    The only times I ever got called up before them were for what they considered to be dress code violations. However, even as early as the 5th grade I was an expert in finding the loopholes, and there wasn’t much they could do but frown sternly at me, tell me that what the rules said wasn’t actually what they meant for them to say, amend them to close that loophole, and wait for me to find another one.

    I suppose you could see that as inspiration if you squint hard enough.

  22. DanDare says

    You tube comments include a current of “leftist attention seeker falsely making accusations when she had agreed to the speech script as part of the condition for speaking”.

    I mean WTF! Oh yes, we admins are in charge here. A crime may have been committed but you shut up about it and you can have your talk but only if you use our words.

  23. DanDare says

    Oh, and I see by the vid that the other students knew what was happening, expected it and were very encouraging. They didn’t care for the the pine-o-clean fresh of the prepared speech either.