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The Principal Story

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PBS Premiere: September 15, 2009


The Principal Story tells two stories, painting a dramatic portrait of the challenges facing America's public schools — and of the great difference a dedicated principal can make. Tresa Dunbar is a second-year principal at Chicago's Nash Elementary, where 98% of students come from low-income families; in Springfield, Illinois, Kerry Purcell has led Harvard Park Elementary, with similar demographics, for six years. Tod Lending (Omar & Pete, POV 2005) and David Mrazek followed both women over the course of a school year, discovering each one's unique styles yet similar passions. The Principal Story takes the viewer along for an emotional ride that reveals what effective educational leadership looks like in the 21st century. The Principal Story is a production of Nomadic Pictures with funding from The Wallace Foundation. To learn more about the principals, the schools and the national outreach campaign, visit The Wallace Foundation site.

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TAGS: education, elementary school, inner-city schools, youth

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Film Information

The Principal Story (60 min.)

Premiere Date: September 15, 2009

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmakers: Tod Lending, David Mrazek Bio | Interview | Statement

Press: Press Release


Tod Lending
Tod Lending
David Mrazek
David Mrazek

We have no good schools without good principals.”

— Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education; former CEO, Chicago Public Schools


Film Update

Critical Acclaim

Here's a film every educator in America would benefit from seeing... a class-act.”

— Matt Fagerholm,
Film Monthly

The excellent and emotionally compelling PBS documentary The Principal Story wisely puts human faces on what could otherwise be a rather dry subject.”

— Maureen Ryan,
The Chicago Tribune

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