First Impressions are misleading

In Scottsdale, Arizona, the school district receptionist is now “director of first impressions.” Many employees have new titles to make their self-esteem as inflated as their students’. The Arizona Republic reports:

Was the school bus late? Blame the “transporter of learners,” formerly the bus driver.

Got a problem with your school principal? Take it up with the 10-word “executive director for elementary schools and excelling teaching and learning,” formerly known as the assistant superintendent of elementary schools.

Superintendent John Baracy explains: “This is to make a statement about what we value in the district. We value learning.”

Best of the Web responds:

“Learning”? That’s “facilitating the development of critical thinking skills” to you, bub!

When I was in high school, guidance became the “Pupil Personnel Services Center” and the library became the “Instructional Materials Center,” known, redundantly, as “The IMC Center.”

About Joanne


  1. We no longer have shop at my school — it’s “Technology Education.” Home Ec. is now “Family and Consumer Science.” Even the kids realize how goofy it can get. So, I once solicted more verbose monikers for Spanish. The best one? “Acquisition of Indo-Iberian European Language.” 🙂

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    “Director of First impressions” was borrowed from Dilbert. Not a bad source.

  3. My high school combined shop and home ec into one “Life Skills” department. Because I have so much need of metal napkin holders which rust after three months that it is a big skill in my life.

    Of course, what I loved more was when they fired all the German, Russian, and Chinese teachers. All we had left was French, Spanish, and Latin. So what did they rename the foreign language department? The “World Languages” department. I guess if your world consists of the Pyranees….

  4. Makes sense to me.

    If you want to give the impression that goals are being met and accomplishments are occurring without taking any chances or doing any real work then the Title-Change Two-Step is ideal.

  5. By cracky, when I was a young-un “shop” was “shop” and “library” was “library.” Guess that ain’t good nuff fer these crazy modern-day edgycators!

  6. If they increase the pay check they can call it whatever they want. Otherwise it probably cost them more for the changes in stationery than it was worth and the people probably still call it by the old names. What a waste of time! The janitor at my old school told me they can call him anything they, just pay him.

  7. Dick — When I was in elementary school in the 1960s, they had started calling janitors “custodians”. As a little kid, I didn’t recognize the supposed status implications; I just considered the two terms as synonyms for guys who cleaned the school. I remember later finding out about museum custodians and realizing to my surprise that they didn’t clean the museums!

    Plus ca change…

  8. If you’re going to have a job title in two parts, the two should have parallel construction. If he is excelling the teaching and learning, what is he the director of doing to the elementary schools? May I suggest “Director of Ridiculifying Elementary Schools and Excelling Teaching and Learning”?

  9. john.cunningham says:

    Ah the delights of euphemism. White people are no longer white people, now, they are People of Pallor. Similarly, drunks are now People of Stupor.

  10. Steve LaBonne says:

    How about “First Lord of Lunacy and Supreme Potentate of Piffle” for the superintendent?

  11. I really think it is more about making the superintendent and his cohorts feel better about themselves. That way they can justify salary increases for themselves because of the inflated values of the underlings they manage. Also that way they can pat themselves on the back and crow about how they are not racist (or some other -ist) but they value everybody. How they value them is another question. The underlings probably don’t really care a bit. As I said earlier, pay me a good salary and you can call me whatever you want.

  12. You mean white isn’t a color?

  13. Thomas Jefferson said it far better than I ever could — “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

  14. Mark Twain set the bar higher – “Eschew verbiage.”