The Principal Story
The Principal Story, a $1.5 million dollar national multiplatform broadcast film and outreach project, was selected for full funding by The Wallace Foundation in response to its RFP to help elevate the visibility of leadership as a lever for school improvement. The Foundation was seeking a film that would provide compelling and credible stories of principals and their leadership teams whose work could result in schoolwide improvement and academic achievement for youth. With a focus on the vital and changing role of school leadership, the project's objectives are to raise awareness; educate and motivate key audiences, including opinion leaders in policy and education; provide resources; and spur collaboration and action. Since 2002, improving education leadership at all levels of the system - state, district, and school - has been the sole focus of The Wallace Foundation's efforts in education.
The Principal Story is a 60-minute documentary about public school leadership and learning seen through the eyes of two very dynamic and passionate principals, one in the Chicago Public School System, and one in Springfield, IL. Following these two principals and schools in depth for one year, the film reveals the complex social and political dynamics that connect children, parents, teachers, principals, principal supervisors, school system executive officers, and elected officials. THE PRINCIPAL STORY takes the viewer along for a compelling, passion-filled ride that reveals what effective educational leadership looks like in the 21st century. Produced and directed by Tod Lending, Nomadic Pictures, and David Mrazek, the film is projected to air on PBS in fall 2009.
Studies have shown that student success in struggling schools relies heavily on the effective leadership of the principal. In THE PRINCIPAL STORY, all three leaders oversee a majority of low-income student populations facing the testing challenges of the No Child Left Behind Act. Their schools offer distinctly different educational environments, with the unique challenges of different age/grade levels and class sizes. Each principal is at different phases in her career; their leadership styles reflect this.
Format: DVD (NTSC)
Executive Producer: Tod Lending
Producers: Tod Lending, David Mrazek
Directors: Tod Lending, David Mrazek
Cinematographer: Tod Lending
Sound Recordist: David Mrazek
Editor: Jan Sutcliffe
Music Composer: Philip Sheppard
Audio Post-Production: Vagabond Audio
Digital Colorist: Michael Matusek
Funding: The Wallace Foundation