She told her students at Castro that if they read more books over the summer than students at any other school in the Mountain View Whisman School District, she would go ape, almost literally.
"Well, it happened. So I did," Crates said, and with great results. "Truly, it was one of the highlights of my career."
Last week, Crates put on a gorilla costume she had tucked away in her closet and wheeled a cart of bananas around the campus, handing the yellow fruit out to students and congratulating them for reading 3,719 books over the summer.
Some children didn't know what to make of the scene, others were a bit scared and still others were absolutely ecstatic to see their normally reserved principal climb on the school roof in the hairy outfit. Crates said she had a blast.
"The pictures say it all," she said.