The Top 20 Principals in TV and Movie History


During childhood, a trip to the principal’s office was one of the most dreaded events for any student. Those unfortunate enough to be sent to the office know the horror of having to stand on the opposite side of the principal’s desk while being scolded–a scene as terrorizing as a horror movie. Not surprisingly, principals have been portrayed in movies and TV shows on many instances. Here are the top 20 portrayals of principals in TV and movie history. And before you start emailing me about omitting Mr. Clark from Lean on Me, only FICTIONAL characters were considered for this list.

1.  Miss Schlowski, Kindergarten Cop–Astoria Elementary.  Miss Schlowski tops our list since she refused to take any crap from Detective John Kimble and took great pleasure in hearing how he punched out a child abuser.  For 15 years running, Astoria has also run the most efficient fire drills in the county.

2.  Richard Belding, Saved by The Bell— Bayside High.  Mr. Belding was able to keep Zack Morris under control while providing the kids at Bayside with a safe, enjoyable learning environment.  His love for his students even surpassed his love for his own brother, who he had to fire after he proved to be an inept substitute teacher.

3.  Mr. Hancock, Forrest Gump–Greenbow County Central School.  Mr. Hancock showed that he was no bureaucrat, by making a special exception for young Forrest Gump to be admitted into his school.  After all, what is a couple of IQ points when the mother is so interested in her son’s education?

4.  Mr. Strickland, Back to the Future–Hill Valley High School.  A hard core disciplinary, Strickland was especially tough on “slackers.” In addition,  he took a tough stance on tardiness and alcohol abuse on campus.

5.  Rosaline Mullins, School of Rock–Horace Green Elementary.  Although she was not thorough in completing background checks, Rosaline did embrace the fine arts, especially music.  Her composure during a crisis, especially calming down irate parents, was legendary.

6.  Seymour Skinner, The SImpsons–Springfield Elementary.  Skinner, a former Green Beret, Skinner tries to balance disciplining his students, especially Bart Simpson, and passing inspections from Superintendent Chalmers.

7.  Ms. McGee, Grease–Rydell High School.  McGee was instrumental in getting  National Bandstand to come to her school.  Despite a large gang population including the T-Birds and Pink Ladies, Rydell routinely ranks high in SAT scores and quality of morning announcements.

8.  Max Anderson, Billy Madison–Polyfector Elementary.  Even when blackmailed by Eric for his past as a wrestler (The Revolting Blob),  Principal Anderson eventually does the right thing and comes clean.  Anderson was recently named to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for Education for his years of service to the community.

9.  Ed Rooney, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off–Shermer High School.  Rooney will do anything to keep track of his students, even traveling off campus to visit them.  In an effort to bond with his students, Rooney can often be seen riding the bus and sharing a gummy bear or two with the student body.

10.  George Feeny, Boy Meets World–John Adams High.  Serves as a constant mentor to Corey (Mr. Matthews) and his friends.  Resisted the temptation to “educate” Topanga and instead channeled his energy into gardening.

11.  Richard Vernon, The Breakfast Club–Shermer High School.  Vernon keeps his students in line by his innovative Saturday detention program.  By sacrificing his Saturdays, Vernon teaches his kids discipline and inspires them to write extra essays.  Vernon also cares for his entire staff, from all his teachers to Carl the Janitor.

12.  Principal Victoria, South Park–South Park Elementary.  Teams with Mr. Mackey to try to keep Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle out of trouble.  Victoria took a tough stand on teaching evolution at South Park and was forced to find a replacement for Mrs. Garrison.

13,  Dr. Bob Sweeney, American History X–Venice Beach High School.  Sweeney is willing to look past bigotry in an attempt to help former skinhead Derek Vinyard and his little brother Daniel.  He is also viewed as an expert in the Venice Beach area on gang violence, often working with law enforcement.

14.  Daniel Raditch, Degrassi High–Degrassi High A former English teacher at Degrassi Junior High, Mr, Raditch innovative lesson plans allowed him to advance in the Canadian educational system.  Obviously, anyone who had to deal with the constant antics of Joey Jeremiah, deserves to be on this list.

15.  Mr. Duvall, Mean Girls–North Shore High School.  Handled a scandal (The Burn Book) with great professionalism.  Duvall was able to sort out the allegations from the facts and fire Coach Carr for his inappropriate relations with underage girls and help get Ms. Norbury exonerated on drug charges.

16.  Rick Latimer, The Principal–Brandel High School.  Quite simply, Latimer kicked some ass and cleaned up Brandel High by force (and a little help from custodian Jake Phillips).  Once he forcibly removed drug deal Victor Duncan, Brandel became a model for inner city schools.

17.  Mr. Synder, Buffy the Vampire Slayer–Sunnydale High School.  It is hard enough to deal with a group of hormonal-fueled teenagers.  Try having to run a high school with supernatural beings in it as well.

18.  Willis Dewitt, Growing Pains–Thomas Dewey High School.  Despite his constant battles with troublemaker Mike Seaver, Principal Dewitt is able to keep his school under control.  As a side note, this is actor Sam Anderson’s second appearance on this list (Forrest Gump Principal Hancock).

19.  Mr. Figgins, Glee– William McKinley High School.  Keeps the school’s budget under control, but still has the vision to allow Will to take over the Glee club, under the condition that it place at Regionals.

20.  Principal, The Mighty Ducks–In only one scene in the movie, this principal teaches us a very important lesson. . . Do not quack at the principal!!!

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5 Responses to The Top 20 Principals in TV and Movie History

  1. marina says:

    My high school principal was the female version of the Back to the Future one.

  2. Blu says:

    There are some real winners on this list, but I would take any of them over principal Agatha Truchbull in Matilda. I think absentee principal Lazarus from Welcome Back Kotter masted the job – he had assistant prinipal Woodman doing all the dirty work!

  3. I loved saved by the bell, it was a fab programme. Belding was the best Principal ever

  4. Mom says:

    When did you have to go to the principal’s office?

    You’re in trouble!

  5. Melissa says:

    OMG!! Mr. Raditch is on here!! He should be at least a number 5! And by the way, he didn’t become principal till he was on the High School series. He was also principal on Degrassi the Next Generation for a while, as well. He was just a teacher on the Jr. High series, in which that screen shot is from, that is posted here. It was from the episode where Joey was trying to get out of going to parents night. He forged a note from his parents, saying they couldn’t attend parents night, cuz they had a highly communicable disease, lol. A great episode, as were all the Degrassi episodes, well, almost all of them. There were a few duds.

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