Ellen and Oprah Love our Alumni! Principal Kenneth Farr '17 goes Viral on TikTok

The 2017 Kalmanovitz School of Education graduate, who went viral on TikTok in January, virtually appeared on the talk show on Monday, Feb 8, 2021 at 4pm PST. He was asked to return to her show, this time in-person, on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 at 4pm PST.

On January 19, 2021, Kenneth DeShone Farr II ’17, a Kalmanovitz School of Education graduate with an MA in Teaching and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, went viral on TikTok. The current principal at St. David School has been co-teaching the combined kindergarten and first grade class with his partner, Priscilla Aguirre, a Saint Mary's College of California double alumnus (BA '13, Kalmanovitz School of Education MA Counseling '18) who recorded the video and posted it on her account with the caption, “When I tell y'all I love him, that’s an understatement. Co-teaching with my human has been a blast.”

The TikTok featured Farr engaging the class by dancing and singing along to “The Action Song” by The Singing Walrus. With over 2 million views, the video delighted many, including talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Farr was featured on The Ellen Show on February 8th, 2021 at 4pm PST. He announced the news on Thursday, February 4th in a Facebook post titled, “Guess Who Made the Ellen DeGeneres Show!”

“There are LITERALLY no words!” he wrote in his post. “No words will express the gratitude in my heart for the amount of love everyone in our personal lives and in this world has shown us for this video… WE ALL did this together! Please know that if you liked, commented, shared or reposted ANYTHING, I see you! You’re a part of this journey too and I’m sooooooo incredibly grateful for you.”

On the show, Farr spoke to Ellen about the unexpected and heartwarming response to his video from the public, and how it was a normal morning spent with his kindergarteners and first-graders.

“We believe that during these challenging times, especially for our students and our children, that’s no excuse to give them any reason not to have fun and not to feel some sort of normalcy,” Farr said to Ellen. “And so what do we do? We get them up, we get them out of their seats, we get them singing, we get them dancing. We let them express themselves. What do kids want to do? They want to sing, dance, express who they are. And so every morning, we play the Good Morning song, and we get up, and we sing and dance. It was a regular Tuesday.” 

He also expanded upon the financial constraints that parents in his county face, which led to his necessity to multitask as principal and teacher and combine grade levels into one classroom. 

“A lot of people make the assumption that if you go to a private school, or a private Catholic school, that those families have money, and those families have resources and the kids are well-off, and I can speak for St. David School when I say that is not the case," said Farr. "We serve a community in the Richmond-San Pablo area and the areas around it, and our parents do not have the luxury, financially, to be able to afford a private Catholic school. However, they want their kids to be in a safe, quality, family-style community like we have and we feel at St. David School. And so they do anything necessary to make it work… And that means our teachers working double the work.” 

To recognize Farr’s efforts and help St. David School out, Ellen invited him to return to her studio once the pandemic subsides. She also partnered with Shutterfly to gift the school $30,000 worth of Google ChromeBooks!