You might remember Susan Opferman from a viral August 17, 2016 video. It showed a janitor named Jonathan at Webb Bridge Middle School being chastised by his superior for leaving work 8 minutes early. After the video gained widespread attention in 2016, showing the harsh treatment of janitor Jonathan Holly, Susan Opferman resigned from the school. She has remained out of the public eye and refrained from interacting with the media since 2017.
Let’s revisit the full story for context.
The viral video from Webb Bridge Middle School captured a 2016 confrontation between the school’s principal, Susan Opferman, and a janitor named Jonathan Holley. Jonathan, a father of four and the Head Custodian of the school had been working there for three years. Susan reprimanded him for leaving work early. Jonathan explained that he had arrived 15 minutes early that day to let firemen into the school for an inspection. Despite coming in early, he left 8 minutes before the official end of his shift. What caught people’s attention was Susan’s condescending attitude in the video. Viewers criticized her for abusing her power. Some accused her of racism, while others said she lacked respect for Jonathan because of his job as a janitor.
Fulton County Schools released a statement about the incident, stating in part;
“We are aware of an August 2016 video that shows Webb Bridge Middle School Principal Susan Opferman being recorded by a former employee….”
“While Mrs. Opferman was on medical leave, the school continued to have personnel issues with this employee. This employee was not terminated, but did resign in May 2016….”
To simplify, Jonathan wasn’t fired. Instead, he resigned in May 2016 due to ongoing issues that persisted even during Susan’s medical leave. On May 13, 2017, Jonathan shared that he had struggled to find another job since leaving the school. He claimed that an HR representative named Patty informed him he could no longer work for Fulton County. He currently drives for Uber.
Who is Susan Opferman?
Susan Opferman is an educational enthusiast, a dedicated tutor, and a (former) employee at Fulton County Board Of Education who was a Principle at Webb Bridge Middle School since 2011. As evident as her disciplinarian methods and cold personality may seem, Susan’s strong sense of perception and acute time management has profoundly led her to be viewed as an authoritarian; her very essence has been marked with questionable conduct, as the opinion many have about her seemed to vary with the most of it being unfavorable.
She had committed over a decade of her life to her career in the educational sector. The janitor incident period marked a significant chapter in her life, making her famous for the wrong reasons.
|Name||Susan Marie Opfermann|
|Age||56 years old|
|Date of Birth||February 1967|
|Place of Residence||Denver|
Susan Opfermann Early Life and Education
Susan Opfermann was born in February 1967 in Denver, California. Details about Susan’s early life remain sparse. Still, she began to find her life more rewarding and exciting once she started her academic journey, which would eventually peak in her successful career.
Susan started her journey in high school, where she dove into the complexities of academics. She then quickly moved on to the University of Georgia, where she earned a Master’s degree in Education. Before this achievement, she had already earned a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Florida.
However, despite her accomplishments, many wonder what went wrong and why Susan became a magnet for negative attention.
Susan Opfermann Career and Controversy
Many people dream of advancing in their careers, going from average to extraordinary. This was definitely the case for Susan Opfermann. She progressed quickly from being a regular teacher to becoming the principal of Webb Bridge Middle School. Her efforts earned her the title “Best Assistant Principal” in 2011. Before joining the administration team at Creekland Middle School in Lawrenceville, Opfermann spent her career teaching at elementary and middle schools in Gwinnett County. However, her actions soon came under scrutiny, supporting the notion that absolute power can lead to corruption.
Susan’s controversial moment came in 2016 when the video of her belittling the school janitor, Jonathan Holley, circulated on social media. While in charge of Webb Bridge Middle School, Susan used her authority to admonish Jonathan harshly. She felt justified in using disparaging remarks to reprimand him for what she saw as a poor work ethic. When she found his performance lacking, she opted for the drastic step of firing him. This confrontation happened during a school break, and Jonathan captured it on his phone.
Living in Georgia, Jonathan knew that state law only required one person’s consent to record a conversation. He decided to document the entire incident, ensuring that Susan’s harsh treatment wouldn’t go unnoticed.
The conflict originated from a minor incident that triggered a major workers’ strike. Jonathan left his shift eight minutes early, which Susan took issue with. His workday started at 6:30 am, but on that day, he began at 6:15 am to accommodate a routine fire safety check. He didn’t realize that starting early didn’t mean he could leave before 3 pm, his usual end time.
Susan questioned his commitment to the school’s rules and implied that he should have made the firefighters wait until the usual start time of 6:30 am. She demanded to know who his boss was and threatened to involve Human Resources. Despite Jonathan’s attempts to appease her, she continued to berate him.
It didn’t get much attention when Jonathan first released his recording on Reddit in 2016. But by 2017, people began to question the conduct of Webb Bridge’s principal, with many arguing that Susan Opfermann’s behavior was harmful to the school environment and didn’t align with ethical standards. The situation escalated when the school acknowledged the incident but refused to take further action. Their official Twitter account posted: “We’re aware of an August 2016 video that shows Webb Bridge Middle School Principal Susan Opferman being recorded by a former employee.”
While the controversy eventually quieted down and Susan had her time in the spotlight, the impact of her actions lingered. Many questioned whether it was truly necessary to harass Jonathan over a minor infraction. Was Susan letting her personal feelings cloud her judgment and misusing her authority? Or was she genuinely trying to enforce high work standards?
These are complex questions that look at Susan’s actions from different angles. While some might see her actions as extreme and unwarranted, others may view them as a personal grudge or an attempt to uphold work ethics.