It’s official: Virdie Montgomery is the best principal ever.
The longtime educator, who oversees Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas, has become a viral sensation after surprising students atop the school’s marquee dressed in a full-on elf costume, à la Elf on the Shelf.
"If school is fun, the kids want to have fun, and then they want to be here and then they learn," Montgomery told ABC News. "I want it to be a place that’s inviting and kids want to come and they feel comfortable and will come talk to you. There’s an open door. They just walk in. I want them to know that and I want them to feel that. For a principal to be visible for 2,300 kids, that’s important. I’m at everything they do. I want them to know me personally so they know where they can go."
And this isn’t the first time Montgomery has dressed up to entertain his students. Early this year, he donned a pirate getup for National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and he’s even gone into parent/teacher conferences dressed like a clown. So students weren’t totally shocked when they saw him dressed like Buddy from Elf, but they certainly didn’t expect to see him perched on the school’s marquee.
"I don’t like heights," Montgomery said. "Our marquee sits out on a corner where the mayor tells me 22,000 people pass by every day. I was up there Facebook Liveing the whole thing. My daughter also works in the district and she helped me get up there on a ladder. Then I had her take it away before the students got there. I get to school every day at 6 a.m. so I had a lot of time to kill."
While Montgomery has quickly become a hit on social media, it was never his intention to get famous. He just wanted to create some lasting memories for the kids.
"We all tell stories of our high school days, and when they’re under my charge, I want to make sure they get good memories,” he said. “I want the kids to have been impacted and remember stuff about me and have a legacy. I love the kids. And the older I get it seems to be funny to them—some old geezer out there doing stuff like this."