A Utah principal has concocted an ingenious way to avoid actual work during the Christmas season, though it requires him to make an absolute fool of himself.
Rob McDaniel told KSTU the Parent Teacher Association of Magna donated an elf costume to the school, so he decided to put it into action by transforming himself into a real-life, human Elf on the Shelf. Pictures provided by the school district show McDaniel, an adult man, perched on a shelf in the school’s administrative office in the outlandish costume.
The get-up featured a tall red and green swirled cap with artificial elf ears, a green jumper with short sleeves and legs lined in red, along with a collar decked out with bells. The principal sat with a smirk on his face as others in the office appeared hard at work, his knee-high nutcracker socks and silver sneakers a dangling distraction.
A second image showed McDaniel sprawled out on top of a shelving unit in a supply room, cheesing for the camera. It’s unclear whether the principal simply sits around all day like a traditional Elf on the Shelf, or whether he simply posed for a few pictures in his goofy costume.
Either way, his students surely got a kick out of it, especially considering most are in their late teens.
“While you might expect this to be a big hit at an elementary school, McDaniel is actually the principal of a high school in Utah,” WTNH reports.
McDaniel took over the Granite School District’s Cyprus High School in 2014 after serving as an assistant superintendent of the Murray School District. He told the Desert News at the time that he looked forward to re-engaging with students in the Granite District, where he previously served as principal at the middle and high school levels.
“I wanted to get back into schools,” he said. “I’m excited to spend a lot of time in classrooms and a lot of time out and about with the students and just getting to know who’s there.”
Student proficiency data published by the Granite School District suggests high school principals might want to consider spending more time focused on things that actually help students learn, and less time elfing around.
In the years since McDaniel came to the district, English language arts proficiency for 11th graders has slid from a mere 33 percent in 2015 to 25 percent in 2017.
The majority of the district’s 11th graders also failed to meet ACT benchmarks for English, Algebra, social science, and biology. Only 16 percent of Granite juniors met the benchmarks for all four subjects.
At Cyprus, 557 student took the ACT tests, and the results were bad – just 16 percent met benchmarks for English, 17 percent for math, and 18 percent for both reading and science. All of the figures are well below both national and state averages, according to the data.
Several folks who commented about McDaniel’s elf idea seemed to think it was amusing, while others questioned whether it was an efficient use of tax dollars.
“This is what he is getting paid for?” Rusty Shakelford posted to Facebook.