The former principal of West Boca Raton High School, Mark Stenner, was ordered by the state of Florida to pay a $750 fine and complete a college-level creative writing course. Stenner, who admitted to plagiarizing a large portion of another author’s graduation speech, also received a reprimand.
During the graduation in 2015, Stenner, then principal, delivered an inspiring and impressive address. The problem was that it wasn’t his work. The speech was largely copied from an original address by David McCullough Jr. delivered in 2012 in Massachusetts. The “You’re Not Special” speech of McCullough’s has several million views on YouTube, so it’s not surprising that when Stenner delivered an incredibly similar version, several in attendance felt a wave of déjà vu.
To compound the misleading move, this was not the first time the former principal was caught cheating on his assignments. In 2014, he delivered an address to West Boca Raton High School that was swiped directly from University of Texas professor Mark Lewis who penned the original back in 2000.
Although Stenner reportedly retired from the school district last June, Nicholas Pietkiew, presiding officer of the Education Practices Commission, stated in an official letter dated February 1, that he must complete a college-level creative writing class. Stenner must also pay the $750 fine in order to maintain his state educator’s license.
Once the measures are fulfilled, Stenner will undergo two years of probation before until he can return to satisfactory status.