“Do you love children? Do they know it? Children will not learn from adults who don’t love them,” said Major General John Henry Stanford who was hired in 1995 to serve as the Superintendent of the Seattle School District. His leadership skills were unorthodox but widely admired by teachers, principals, students, and parents. When he was hired he promised, “Give me a mission and I will get it done.”

Major General John Henry Stanford

Major General John Henry Stanford

Many influential leaders have been teachers. At least four American presidents were teachers. Poets, writers, artists, musicians, politicians, inventors, and scientists have been leaders in the classroom. Here is a short list of some famous teachers:

Al Gore, Alexander Graham Bell, Andy Griffith, Art Garfunkel, Bill O’Reilly, Billy Crystal, Clara Barton, D. H. Lawrence, Dan Brown, Frank McCourt, Gabriel Byrne, Gene Simmons, George Orwell, Hugh Jackman, J. K. Rowling, Jon Hamm, Kal Penn, Kate Capshaw, Laura Bush, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Laura Mercier, Leonard Maltin, Louisa Mae Alcott, Madeline Albright, Maya Angelou, Mr. T, President Barack Obama, President Jimmy Carter, President John Adams, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert Frost, Roberta Flack, Sheryl Crow, Stephen King, Steve Wozniak, Sting, Sylvester Stallone, Thomas Paine, and Tony Danza.

Major General Stanford was buried in 1998 in the Arlington National Cemetery after fighting leukemia. A book he wrote called, “Victory in Our Schools: We CAN Give Our Children Excellent Public Education” lays out much of his vision where he stated, “I produce destinies for children!” I would love to have a conversation with Stanford to learn his thoughts and ideas about public education today. I wonder what he would say...