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The Principal Story,
A PBS Documentary Film

  1. The Principal Story Home
  2. The Principal Story Field Guide
  3. Clips from the Film
  4. Buy resources on instructional leadership and community engagement in the National Principals’ Resource Center

About the Documentary

The Principal Story portrays the challenges principals face in turning around low-performing public schools and raising student achievement. This intimate, emotional one-year journey is seen through the eyes of two dynamic principals: Tresa D. Dunbar and Kerry Purcell. The film reveals the struggles these leaders face as they keep their focus on improving teaching and learning amid the competing demands of managing their staffs and engaging their students and communities.
Tune in to NAESP Radio to hear NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly interview one of the featured principals, Tresa D. Dunbar, and read Connelly’s column about the documentary in Principal magazine.

Use the Documentary to Tell Your Story
You can use this documentary as a tool in your school community to produce confidence in school leadership and awareness of the principals’ wide-reaching ability to positively influence school communities.

  • Inform your community about the documentary; send this media advisory to get the word out.
  • Show the documentary to staff, parent groups, and students at the beginning of the school year to prompt discussion about school issues. Use these discussion prompts with students, community members, principals and other educators, and the media.
  • Use the documentary in principal training programs (university or district), with aspiring principals, and in mentoring programs.
  • Share the documentary with your superintendent and with school board members to show how their decisions impact schools.
  • Send clips of the documentary to state legislators to promote professional development for principals.
  • Show the documentary to corporate sponsors so that they will have a greater understanding of the work that principals do and the needs of public schools.

This project is part of The Principal Story outreach campaign, which is made possible by a grant from The Wallace Foundation.