James K. Polk Middle School

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James K. Polk Middle School
Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide location
Type School
Located in California
Principal Principal Pal (retired)
Alistar Wright
First appearance "Guide to: The First Day and Lockers!"
Last appearance

James K. Polk Middle School is a fictional school seen on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. It is located in California. The exterior of the school is filmed at La Mesa Junior High in Santa Clarita, California.[1] The team is the Wolves and their colors are green and gold. It is named after James K. Polk, 11th President of the United States (and could also possibly be a reference to Married... with Children, as most of the show's main characters also went to school named after Polk). The accompanying High School is Michael S. Dukakis High School, named after the ex-Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis.


  • Principal Alistair Wright (Played by Meshach Taylor, who is most famous for playing Anthony in CBS' Designing Women) He's smart and has a love for classical art, and he also runs the school's annual talent show, which all the students dread going to. Wright also coaches the Cross Country team. He is now the principal of Polk replacing Pal.
  • Vice Principal Crubbs (Played by Hamilton Mitchell, whose first feature film was Caddyshack), debuts in the second season. His last name is a combination of Crockett and Tubbs, the two main leads on Miami Vice. He acts like a character from that 80's show, from his white linen suit to his Florida Office decor, and is very authoritative and always has multiple pairs of shades. He first appearance is solving a mysterious woodshop attack with cheese puff's "cheedle" residue. His old college nickname was "Dr. No," because he apparently said "NO!!" a lot (which is an obvious parody of Dr. No character in the James Bond movies). Crubbs reveals to Ned that he was an actual former Vice cop from Miami, however, having achieved his lifetime ambition, he felt unsatified. Realizing that he dealt with young lives already wasted--Crubbs decided to enter Education where he could help redeem students before their posssible futures were squandered away--and as an added bonus--he still had the word "Vice" in his job title. At James K. Polk Middle School he says a lot: "Do (whatever) or you're Fired"! Is fond of wearing a yellow hardhat with a flashing red light. He is also an expert April Fool's prankster and enjoys the lottery (even though he stupidly draws the numbers 12345). Will probably keep a special eye on Ned Bigby now that he sees him as a possible protogé.
  • Mrs. Splitz (Played by Melissa Peterman) The school Guidance Counselor. Believes each student requires different approaches to solve their problems. An apparent mistress of the quick-change, she trails her targeted students by adopting various disguises during the school day.
  • Nurse Hunsucker (Played by Mary Bogue) The school nurse, brusque, yet efficient, she seems fond of Ned, (once kissing him on the cheek for saving her from a nasty fall) and actually came to a school dance to help Ned with his gastric problems after Moze called her in.
  • Rose the Lunch Lady (Played by Loni Love) can see the future in the vegetables (peas, corn, or beans) she serves to the kids. Once, she saw in Ned's beans that the Los Angeles Dodgers would win the 2004 World Series. This would be proven untrue in real-life, as the Boston Red Sox would win. This so far is the only prediction that didn't come true, including the prediction that Ned would kiss his true love at a dance. She now teaches the cooking class at the school.
  • Gordy (Played by Daran Norris of The Fairly OddParents) is the irresponsible school janitor. He's obsessed with nabbing the weasel that became seventh grade class president, and is very eager to join in any of Ned's (or sometimes Cookie's) schemes, but almost never cleans anything, and is often heard saying, "I'll let the night guy get that." He oftens provides an escape service to either Ned or Moze by letting them leap into his generally empty trash bins for quick emergency exits. Gordy also has found himself in a couple awkward situations in the first season that make him look like a has-been spy. In the episode, "Guide to: Your Body & Procrastination", he sounded like Jorgen Von Strangle when he imitated Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also, when he wanted Billy Loomer to be either tough or wimpy, he imitated Loomer and Crabgrass with two dolls. The Crabgrass doll's voice sounded like Cosmo. Additionally, his greatest enemy is a weasel that he is constantly trying to catch. On his book, he is credited as Gordon R. Rockefeller III.He apparently has cut out cardboards of all the students and staff, but frequently lets them have it of free will. He apparetly can make them pretty fast.
  • Mrs. Holler (Played by Judy Tenuta) is the school librarian who helped Ned, Cookie, Coconut Head, Lisa, Martin Qwerly, and many others track down a gang of library book thieves. She is infamous for playing the accordion and singing very badly as torture to kids who did something bad. Her name is a play as she works in a library as you know you must keep quiet, and how she sing very badly.


  • Mr. Monroe (Played by Jim J. Bullock) is Ned and Cookie's life science (and Life Science:Extreme!), and Health teacher. He's full of life and talks effeminately. As their homeroom teacher, he is the one the kids turn to for help most often. He is the Sewing Club advisor and also the boys' basketball coach. The character's name is a reference to the character Bullock played on the 80s sitcom Too Close for Comfort, named Monroe Ficus.
  • Mr. Irving Pal (Played by John Bliss) is Ned and Moze's ancient history teacher. He is a kind old man with a habit of knocking himself out. He also refuses to accept the fact that Moze is a girl. He was former Principal but was replaced by Mr. Wright.
  • Mr. Sweeney (Played by Don Creech) The school's "evil" science teacher and one of the heads of the school as evidenced by his ability to fire Mr. Kwest. He treats his students rather harshly, and many consider him "insane." Yet his character has been toned down a bit since season one. He occasionally uses unconventional means to teach his students. In some occasions he helped Ned Bigby. In the Notebooks episode, Sweeney showed Ned the "Golden Notebook", written by a former A+ student. He decides to steal the notebook. At the end, Ned is caught "gold"-handed. It is revealed that Sweeney wrote it. He made up the story to help him get an A. In the "Excuses" episode, he helps Ned capture a dog that ate Ned's homework, and Sweeney's student evaluation papers. He has a list of students to not listen to for substitute teachers. They include Ned, Billy Loomer, Doris from The Huge Crew, and, added in the Substitute Teachers episode, Jennifer Mosely. He uses radar to track the speed of students. If they are going over the 5 mile per hour speed limit he writes them a "ticket" (apparently demerits or detention) like a piloce officer would.
  • Mr. Chopsaw whose first name is "Dusty" (played by Dave Florek, famous for playing "Vic" from Grace Under Fire), is Moze's woodshop teacher. His right-hand index finger is prosthetic. He naturally loves wood, and has a philosophical way about him. He was class president when he was a kid. He constantly gets involved in injuries such as a hole drilled through his hand.
  • Ms. Joy Dirga (Played by Kim Sava) is Polk's highly-strict gym teacher. Ned once knocked out her two front teeth (intentionally) with a dodgeball to get out of the 7th grade class presidential election. It didn't work - she praised him, and then endorsed him. While she is fond of Ned and Moze--she has a particularly contentious relationship with Cookie. She is commonly just called Dirga.
  • Mr. Kwest (Played by Dave "Gruber" Allen) is a computer teacher hippie who plays board game RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons and started a school club about it. He doesn't watch his students, but instead plays games or does something else. He fixes computers by hitting their CPUs and acts as if he is a wizard. Break a rule in his computer lab (or as he calls it, "his domain") and he pulls out a strange looking tray, rolls some non-cubical dice, and then kicks you out (or "banishes") you for how many ever days ("solar cycles") the total of the dice is. He once caused the school computer network to crash because of an overload when he met with hundreds of teachers on the Internet--Cookie had to fix it. As a result, Cookie has a permanently reserved spot in the Computer Lab to give Mr. Kwest technical support. Mr. Kwest also played the bus driver that had to get Ned to school before Suzy to retrieve the letter Ned wrote to her.
  • Mr. Combover (Played by Steve Bannos) Originally a foreign studies teacher, he becomes the school choir, drama, and musical appreciation teacher. Speaks in a strong European accent and styles his beard across his bald head to form a virtual mane around his face, which was initially gray but is now reddish.
  • Dr. Xavier (Played by Lusia Strus) is an 8th grade math teacher, presumably from a former Soviet country (due to her Eastern European accent). She is often thought of, like Mr. Sweeney, as insane. Cookie was placed in her class, successfully caused her to loosen up, and threw a party. She has some very strange habits, such as placing her face in front of the overhead projector, and has a passion for electricity. Was once an Olympic-class athlete in luge and Graeco-Roman wrestling in her home country. She also has a crush on Gordy, often calling him "handsome cleaning man".
  • iTeacher (Played by Mo Collins) A "Hometeaching" English teacher who does everything "in a box." (actually an iMac) She uses a computer, the school's wireless chatserver, and a webcam to get around school. She is only shown as a computer "head" being either pushed around by a recurring student, or on some nearby computer monitor. "The kids think she's just a head." A funny thing about her is that even though she's limited to being an image on a screen, she pops up a lot more than any other teacher. Her real name has not been revealed yet. She joins the Polk faculty in the 3rd season.
  • Mr. Adam (Played by Adam Conway) A familiar adult face around Polk. Started as a cafeteria worker in the initial episodes but has gradually grown into a prominent member of the faculty. He has been frequently seen in the third season (the Pastor marrying Suzie in Ned's stress vision) and has even been given a few lines.
  • Mr. Dren (Played by Charles Chun) A student teacher of Math, replacing Mrs. Morrison. He had trouble establishing order until Moze secretly helped him. Still, he regularly expects his students to send various projectiles his way. His name, of course, is "nerd" backwards.
  • Ms. Enstile (Played by Linda Cevallos) Spanish Language teacher whom Cookie developed an infatuation with--he ultimately had to transfer out of her class. Was also the original girl's volleyball coach.
  • Mr. Gross (Played by Steve Bannos) is one of Cookie's teachers. He doesn't shower or brush his teeth. No one likes being around him. He is the moderator at the annual spelling bee. The first person to misspell a word has to sit next to him for the rest of the bee and read words other students have to spell. Moze had to sit by him when she was the first one that spelled a word wrong. She and Gordy "cleaned him up" a bit.
  • Coach Stax (Played by Fred Williamson) Taught self-defense. Showed Ned there was no shame in being tossed around by Moze.
  • Dr. Lowe (Played by Fred Stoller) Has seemingly led a varied career in the school district, ranging from district photographer to bus driver to school psychologist to finally a teaching position at Polk. Ned tried to tap him as a candidate for principal when Principal Pal was retiring, but P. Lowe decided against it when Crubbs threatened him.
  • Mr. Gibson (Played by Art Alexakis) Polk's music teacher. Apparently an alias of the lead singer of Everclear (Gibson being a well-known brand of guitar) as he uses his band to show Ned that one must know the basics of music to someday achieve dreams of rock superstardom.
  • Mr. Weiner (Played by Marc Weiner) Substitute teacher Ned and his friends have had since Kindergarten. With the kids encouragement, he successfully made the jump to Middle School. His suggestion to a younger Ned after rescuing him from the girl's room eventually evolved into the Guide.
  • Mr. Nigel Hattorff is the German art teacher. First appears in "Recycling" but his job doesn't get revealed until the short "Art Class".
  • Mrs. Knapp (Played by Ellen Albertini Dow) is the social studies teacher who is always sleeping. She gets asked to retire (which she is happy about) and Mr. Pal takes her place

Polk Peculiarities

  • The Sportscasters - When the action at James K. Polk Middle School becomes worthy of an ESPN-style presentation, real life sportscaster Van Earl Wright and former Olympic Games competitor and member of the Super Bowl XX-winning Chicago Bears Willie Gault chime in with play-by-play and color commentary while working for the fictional television station Channel 6-and-a-half Sports, a "station" that was created for sketches on Nick's Saturday Night Live-style variety show, All That.
  • The Weasel - Actual rodent which freely roams the school halls. It is Gordy's greatest nemesis. It won the election for 7th grade President and took a world tour after winning a bike in the school recycling contest. The weasel only makes brief cameos as of Season 3. In Guide to: Field Trips, the weasel is revealed to be female and has three babies.
  • Also, there is an unused room behind a (usually) unmarked, spring-loaded door, that seems to exist only for people to get trapped in it.


  • In real life, the school's exterior is actually the exterior La Mesa Junior High School in Santa Clarita, California.
  • In real life, James K. Polk was the eleventh President of the United States.
  • There's an actual James K. Polk Middle School in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • The school has supposedly lifted one foot of the ground due to the "atomic flush"
  • It's possibly a joint school between an elementary school and a middle school, because Ned was seen in a flashback as a Kindergartener at the school.

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