Pam Tate Interview and Girl Beats Boy and Statutory Rape (Remarkable Principal #4)

image_8205Mrs. Pam Tate was selected as the 2012 Kansas Distinguished Principal by the National Distinguished Principal program offered by the Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals (KAESP).

Mrs. Tate is in her seventh year as Principal of Gardner Elementary, having previously served four years as the Assistant Principal at Wheatridge Middle School. Prior to serving as an administrator, Mrs. Tate spent seventeen years teaching 2nd, 5th and 6th grade levels in the Salina, Auburn-Washburn and Shawnee Mission school districts. During her tenure as a classroom teacher, Mrs. Tate was selected as the Master Teacher of the Year. In 2005, she was selected as the Kansas District I Assistant Principal of the Year by the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals.

To be considered for this honor, principals must exemplify a commitment to excellence by improving student achievement, demonstrate strong leadership, and serve as a champion for children.

“Mrs. Tate’s leadership skills have been instrumental in providing the framework and direction that has allowed Gardner Elementary School to flourish academically,” said Dr. Bill Gilhaus, Superintendent of Schools. “Mrs. Tate is truly an extraordinary principal whose influence, effort and passion are reflected in both student achievement and staff cohesiveness.” Tate holds a Master’s in Education from Baker University and a Bachelor of Science from Kansas State University, respectively.

Last Week’s What would you do?


A ninth grade boy, who is identified as ADHD, ADD and BD along with being a general pain in the rear, has trouble with the truth, and an only child of older parents, has constantly harassed a ninth grade girl for the past 4 years.   The girl is of mixed race, twice as big as the boy, and lives with her mother and grandmother next door to the boy.  Over the weekend the girl’s dog has been shot repeatedly by a bb gun and was reported to law enforcement.  On the way to lunch Monday, the boy says to the girl,”How did your like your dog being shot?  You shouldn’t have an ugly dog like that in our neighborhood!”  At which point the girls goes into a tirade and begins beating the boy unmercifully, drawing blood and a crown.  The girl is pulled off repeatedly but breaks free each time to continue to beat the boy.  Finally, the the girls is forcefully removed to the principals office and the boy is taken to the nurse.  What would you do?

There are times when a student gets what they deserve but you still have to handle the situation because school rules and the law have been broken.  In this situation you must first make sure the boy receives the proper medical care, the parents of both students are informed and law enforcement contacted and a report made.  In addition, you have a serious situation with a student being beaten at school and it must be handled appropriately and with care.  In this instance the girl was suspended for the remainder of the semester and allowed back second semester under probation.  She also was allowed to attend the Learning Center to finish her required classes for the semester.  She is receiving counseling for anger management.  The boy received a short-term suspension and had to report to the counselor every week to receive sensitivity counseling.

There are many times, in a building administrator’s duties, that you have to take the stance that you must uphold the school rules even though you know where the violating student is coming from and empathize with her.  That’s when I say to the student and the parents “I may have made the same choice myself, but I also am prepared to pay the consequences.  The price of free choice is what happens in the outcome.”

This Week’s What would you do?


An 18 year old male student comes to you office and say he needs help because he is about to be charged with statutory rape.  Upon further discussion, you find out that he has had sex with his 15 year old girlfriend and her father has found out.  Her father intends to contact law enforcement this morning and the student expects to be arrested later in the day.  You find out that the male has not informed his parents, with whom he lives, and doesn’t want you to do so either.  What would you do?

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