What a Clown

By Tommy A. Purvis

Posted September 20, 2012 in News

A Victorville charter school superintendent tells racist Michelle Obama joke

Telling racist jokes about President Barack Obama’s wife during a family-friendly event is not a good idea. It’s just plain wrong.

Michael R. Hayhurst—the superintendent of a Victorville-based charter school—knows that now.

Hayhurst’s joke—broadcast over a public-address system at the Creston Classic Rodeo in San Luis Obispo County last Saturday—left the crowd in a stunned silence. The joke, as he was reported to tell it in San Luis Obispo’s The Tribune, said Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, was offered $250,000 to pose for Playboy. The White House was upset, Hayhurst continued, because first lady Michelle Obama could only get $50 from National Geographic.

An emailed statement and apology for an “irresponsibly told” joke that many found offensive was sent from the moonlighting rodeo clown to The Tribune midday Tuesday for readers in the Creston area. Hayhurst’s executive assistant, Lynn Mickens, misled the Weekly the same morning when she said a statement would be given at the Excelsior board meeting later that evening—which didn’t happen. In the statement, Hayhurst explains that he recycled his standup material from the last presidential election. Sarah Palin was the female comparison to Ann Romney in the prior version.

By noon Tuesday, KCBS in Los Angeles had figured out that the racist joketelling rodeo clown was also the superintendent for Excelsior Public Charter Schools, based in Victorville.

Financial documents from Excelsior show that the retired Barstow police sergeant makes $175,000 per year. Mickens makes $300 per hour. The Excelsior Excelsior Leadership Team “meetings” involved extravagant, taxpayer-funded getaways to Newport Beach and Palm Desert, according to Weekly sources and records. For example, that team had a $1,500 dinner tab at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Palm Desert last December according to the charter school’s credit card statements.

Bill Morem of The Tribune also reports that several people who attended the bull-riding event that followed the rodeo emailed the paper and said Hayhurst also made offensive comments about President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Hayhurst was said to compare a black bull to President Obama, asking what they have in common. His punchline: “Besides the obvious? A couple of good points and a lot of bull in between.”

Other emailers heard Hayhurst say that “we need Obamacare like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask.”

“The Board of Directors apologizes to anyone offended by the inexcusable behavior of 2012 Rodeo Clown Mike Hayhurst on Saturday, September 15th,” rodeo organizers said via press release. “Mr. Hayhurst was an out-of-town independent contractor who was solely responsible for his inappropriate attempt at humor. His distasteful words do not in any way reflect the beliefs or standards of the Rodeo Board.”

Tina Battles, the mother of a 13-year-old eighth-grader who is one of the few black students who attends the predominately white Excelsior reached out to the Weekly after she read about the joke on BET’s website. Her brother had given her a copy of the Weekly’s July 19 cover story (Vol. 7, Issue 16’s “Dire Learning”) probing Excelsior’s questionable adminstrative spending and allegations of shaky, lacklustre academics.

Battles hand-delivered a picture of Hayhurst dressed as a rodeo clown Tuesday morning so that the principal could replace the current photo of the superintendent on the charter school’s office wall. Another parent wants to make buttons for Excelsior students that read “Racism is not a clowning matter.”

The charter school’s other issues, previously reported here, include not preparing students for college and rampant cheating, according to records as well Excelsior parents and students. In addition, questions have been raised about the school’s dramatic drop in white students (from half the student body to just four percent now) and current overwhelmingly Latino population—in light of the fact that minority enrollment numbers for charter schools are a factor in receiving awards, grants and funds.

But regarding the racist joke incident, Creston Classic Rodeo Board Director Jeff Rigby shares his view: “We still believe in the ‘Cowboy Way,’ and part of that creed is to tip our hat and respect women. Mr. Hayhurst broke a cowboy rule.”



    I guess there is no level to the depravity to which this administration will sink.


    Same false regurgitated facts from the same writer…we read this blast on Excelsior weeks ago. Why do you keep reporting that Ms. Micken makes $300 an hour? That’s clearly an error…the school isn’t paying her $528,000 a year to assist a man making less than half of that…I’m embarrassed for the author of this. I will admit as a former Excelsior employee there are things that don’t always go the way they should, but at least get the facts right. That $1500 steak dinner was not Mr. Hayhurst eating there by himself, it included the entire board. I will also admit that I don’t really have a life and went to the most recent board meeting to listen to the statement, but it was vague. What can we expect until Mr. Hayhurst recovers from his concussion and returns back to work? Students at every other school in the high desert are getting beaten, stabbed, etc. and you are sitting here blowing your horn about a school’s minority numbers.


      Talk about having no life. Why would you pretend and post as a former Excelsior teacher? Shame on you! That is against the law. You are slandering an outstanding teacher! I love the way Excelsior’s employees show the level of their maturity. And, I am guessing you were at this steak dinner? The leadership team spent $150.00 per person on this dinner on tax payer money. Was it necessary to waste that kind of tax payer money on one meal? As far as the recent board meeting, the board ran into to closed session like they always do. Board meeting are supposed to be public. The fact that they spend nearly every board meeting in closed session stuffing their faces and leaving interested parties sitting there is illegal. The VVUHSD Board conducts closed session matters before the actual board meeting begins. Excelsior’s board members are a joke! After all that time in closed session, the best statement they could come up with is, “At this time, there is not enough information to take action.” You would not be this angry and defensive if the facts were not true.

    Laura G.

    It has come to my attention that someone is falsely posting on here claiming to be me. Funny, how the board meeting minutes aren’t even posted yet showing that I was in attendance, yet someone, obviously who was in attendance, was so bothered by my presence at a PUBLIC meeting that they decided to make personal attacks against me. Who doesn’t have a life? I surely find it well worth my time to support a former student and his parent (Mrs. Battles) as she speaks out against racism. That is what real educators do..go above and beyond the call of duty to support students and their families. It is not an issue of politics, it is an issue of right and wrong. As Mrs. Munoz read from the “Values and Basics” at that very board meeting “We are active listeners and have positive, professional interactions at all levels and in all situations.” Sadly, it is being proven time and time again that this is not the case and that these “Values and Basics” are nothing more than a little card stuffed in a pocket rather than observable character traits. The fact that an employee is making childish personal attacks further highlights the issues taking place. Bullying should not be tolerated in our schools with regard to students and certainly not those entrusted with their education. Mr. Hayhurst’s comments (along with multiple lawsuits pending against the school for discrimination) are indicative of the school culture and not something I, in good conscious, support. These lawsuits, along with financial documents, are public record. See you at the next board meeting! : )


    @Maxine…. I could care less about the above spat….but are you telling me you believe the asst makes $300 an hour? The fact that an obvious typo is being reported as news is the only thing here that’s really baffling. As for the comment above being illegal…an ambiguous first name on an Internet post is hardly considered illegal. Just let the kids be kids.


      @Concerned-The real issue is not whether Micken makes $300 hour. Whether she makes $300 an hour or $300 a day, either way it is way too much! Even if she makes $300 or so a day, she is being paid way more than the average facilitator.

      As to your comment about it being illegal to post as a former teacher, only one former teacher named Laura showed up to the last board meeting. So, I am guessing it is not that difficult to deduce who the fake commenter was referencing.

      I am not sure how to respond to the comment “just let the kids be kids” as I have made no reference to or about the kids.

      Once again, people are missing the much bigger issue. If you are upset about what’s being printed, then go read the board minutes and go to board meetings to find out what Excelsior’s Board is really up to.


      I could really care less about whether Micken makes $300/hr or $300/day. It really is not that important when you look at the bigger issues really plaguing Excelsior. The board spent an exorbitant amount of money on themselves that did not help raise the standard for education. They pay the upper management ridiculous salaries for a student population that does not exceed 1500 for 3 campuses. If we keep deflecting from the bigger issues, Excelsior students will be at risk due to the careless management of Excelsior higher ups. The board does not respect the parents at all. If they had any consideration for parents, they would hold public board meetings instead of hiding in closed session. Why do they need to hide? If they were on the up and up, they would put all their cards on the table. In recent board minutes, they stopped posting individual spending on the CAL cards. Why is that? Is it because people are now watching?

      Addressing the issue about a former teacher: It is easily deduced which former Excelsior teacher attended the last board meeting. Her name will be in the board minutes for all to see. Why was this person so offended by her presence? Again, those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

      I made no reference to the kids in my previous post, so you will need to elaborate on what you mean for me to adequately respond.


    Hi Tommy Purvis,
    How are both of these comments true?
    “Tina Battles, the mother of a 13-year-old eighth-grader who is one of the few black students who attends the predominately white Excelsior” and “In addition, questions have been raised about the school’s dramatic drop in white students (from half the student body to just four percent now).”
    Just to be clear, I’ve worked at Excelsior for the past four months now. I’m just curious about the facts here regarding these two contradictory statements. Either one is factually true, or the other is factually true, or neither is factually true, but they can’t both be true, right?
    Excelsior can’t be “predominately white” and “just four percent white.” Which is it? I honestly don’t see either of these two extremes on campus.
    Thank you for clarifying your research on this topic.

      Thomas D/

      The author is pointing out that Excelsior is not accurately reporting their minority numbers. The school claims that it only has 4% whites when it is obvious that the white numbers are much higher. I had 2 children who recently attended Excelsior and the white population is much higher than 4%. I cannot state what the correct % is, but it is definitely higher than 4%.

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