Now THAT’S An Incompetent Principal!

Jan McGee was the principal at Burns Science and Technology Charter School in Oak Hill, Florida. Everything at the school of about 1,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade was going swimmingly until Jan ended up in a long-running online friendship with Elon Musk, or so she thought.

I know how exciting it can be suddenly having a famous celebrity billionaire contacting you and emerging as your pal: I once was emailed by this cool Nigerian prince.

Anyway, as they exchanged messages, Principal McGee had a brainstorm. Her school needed money; BST is publicly funded and does not charge students any tuition. Why not hit up Elon for a charitable contribution? Come to think of it, he may have even been the one to suggest it. But she was cultivating him, see. Sly. That’s what fundraisers do: they cultivate potential donors. And Jan was good at it: soon Elon was metaphorically eating out of her hand. He promised that he would donate millions to the school! All it had to do first was to send him a paltry $100,000 as an “investment.”

Of course, this condition precedent made no sense, but you know that Elon: he’s a little strange. So the principal at Burns Science and Technology Charter School, charged with oversight of the school’s budget and finances, just wrote out a check for 100 grand and sent it to the address Elon gave her.

And never heard from him again, because, in fact, it wasn’t Elon Musk after all, but an online scamster. She is an idiot. Fortunately, the school’s business manager, who had warned Jan that the whole thing looked suspicious to him (and he wasn’t the only one), cancelled the check before it could be cashed.

At a school board meeting this week, McGee announced that she was resigning. Everyone applauded.

The disturbing aspect of this story is that someone with such wretched judgment could serve as a school principal for so long.

8 thoughts on “Now THAT’S An Incompetent Principal!

  1. This story is a small-scale example of what is happening on a much larger scale. Individuals are becoming more and more willing to compromise their standards, their morals, their ethics, and even their good sense for a shot at the “big time”. In this case, it was a Principal who let a chance of name association with Musk cloud any thought to the possibility that she was being manipulated.

    It happens all the time on (anti-)social media. People follow celebrities and post fawning comments religiously, hoping against hope that the star will respond directly. Then it’s “I’m friends with George Clooney.”

    It’s now a matter of “I need to have something go viral” or “I need to be an influencer”. Kids in their teen years now film themselves doing stupid, dangerous, and even deadly things in the hopes of surviving so they can post it to YouTube or Snap-o-gram (or whatever) and collect a cadre of groupies.

    Individuals of all ages go on contest shows (“American Idol”, et al) and say things like “I quit school” or “I quit college” or “I quit my job” or “I left everything behind”…”to pursue this dream.” As it turns out, they have usually given up something with far more stability and upside, instead choosing to the play the fame lottery with what is little more than a popularity contest – effectively placing their trust in many of the same people that put Joe Biden in the White House. Replying to the Nigerian Prince’s email may be a better option for some of these.

    Ms. McGee wanted notoriety and it cost her a well-paying job. She may struggle to land a similar job in the future. But others lose more. Some lose their home, their spouse, their children, their friends, their good health. A few lose their lives. Nearly all lose their moral compass and their discernment.

  2. Jack, I tried to respond to this piece, but you know how WordPress is with Braves fans. If you are able to resurrect my thoughts (I tried to post them twice), I would appreciate it very much.

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Yup, it was spammed. I still have a warm place in my heart for the Braves, given their Boston origin, and having passed old Braves field, now BU’s stadium, so many times in my youth…

      • Thanks. Maybe that’s one reason my dad has been a life-long Red Sox fan, but also roots for Atlanta (when the two teams don’t face each other). We came so close two years ago to the dream of a Sox-Braves Series.

        • Came even closer in 1948, when the Sox lost a one-game tie-breaker play-off for the AL pennant with the Cleveland Indians because manager Joe McCarthy had a “hunch” that starting a surprise starter, Denny Galehouse, who had been a mediocre 8-8 with a 4.00 ERA during the season, would pan out. It didn’t.

  3. I hate to do this, I really do, but every time I hear a story like this, with someone who is in a position that should require a lot of merit to attain, but belong to one of those groups have quota/checkbox preferences, I cannot but assume that they are unqualified or under-qualified. Sadly, almost certainly she’ll be replaced by another quota person.

  4. That’s DOCTOR Jan McGee. Ron-in-Chicago prompted me to re-read the post, looking for some reference of identity-hiring that led to Dr McNugget’s hiring, but I couldn’t find one.
    I went to the internet and found Dr Pepper to be a bleach blonde white woman in her fifties, but I have become more racist than ever.
    The seed planted by Ron-in-Chicago led to an assumption that someone as stupid as McGee couldn’t be placed in a position of power without some sort of diversity-hire bullshit applying, but no.

  5. Sadly she is not alone. I just had a client who ‘invested’ all his money (and borrowed yet more) in a crypto scheme that was going great guns, or so he thought.

    It finally clicked for him when he tried to withdraw some money and was informed there would be a withdrawal fee of 10% to get any of his money out. Not 10% of what he tried to withdraw, but 10% of supposed inflated value of the account. He had no money left so he could not, and shortly thereafter they went silent.

    He has hired a company to try and recover the funds, who are hopeful. They aren’t charging him anything up front so perhaps it will happen. He is hopeful, I am less so.

    There’s one born every day, as the saying goes. It is simply sad.

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