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Readers Are Leaders

Premieres Tuesday, September 15 at 9:30 pm

A compelling PBS documentary presented as part of the P.O.V. series of documentaries, THE PRINCIPAL STORY portrays the challenges principals face in turning around low-performing public schools and raising student achievement. This intimate, one-year journey is seen through the eyes of two dynamic principals: one in only her second year in the Chicago Public School System; and the other, a seven-year veteran in Springfield, IL. The film shows how these leaders keep their focus on improving teaching and learning amid the competing demands of managing their staffs, as well as the social and emotional issues surrounding their students and communities. The film's principals motivate teachers and students by using data to make better decisions, by offering professional development and training for struggling teachers, and by allocating resources to build a learning community within and beyond the school. THE PRINCIPAL STORY reveals the complex social and political connections among children, parents, teachers, principals and superintendents. Poignantly, it shows the heart, commitment and skill that are required for successfully leading and improving public schools in which more than 85 percent of students come from families living below the poverty-line. THE PRINCIPAL STORY is a Nomadic Pictures' film, produced and directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker Tod Lending and award-winning filmmaker David Mrazek.

For more information and additional outreach materials visit

Join us for a special screening and panel discussion of THE PRINCIPAL STORY.

When: Thursday, September 3, 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Where: WTTW Studios, 5400 N. St. Louis Ave, Chicago

A light dinner and refreshments will be provided.


WTTW will host a special screening of THE PRINCIPAL STORY, followed by a panel discussion exploring the idea of Instructional Leadership and its role in local school reform.

Meet award winning producers Tod Lending and David Mrazek as they provide an introduction and insight to the making of the year-long documentary, THE PRINCIPAL STORY. A light dinner will be served as we preview a screening of documentary in its entirety.

Following the screening, Principals, Administrators, Educators, and education professionals are invited to join the conversation as WTTW panel moderator, Silvia Ewing, leads a panel of distinguished guests in a conversation surrounding the issues faced by principals and educational leaders. Time will be allotted for audience questions and comments. Panel guests include:

Tresa Dunbar
Principal of Nash Elementary, CPS (featured in the documentary)

Teri Purcell
Former Principal of Nash Elementary, Springfield, IL (featured in the documentary)

Clarice Jackson-Berry
President, Chicago Principal and Administrators Association

Joan Dameron-Crisler
Managing Director, CLASS Leadership Development

This project is part of THE PRINCIPAL STORY outreach campaign, which is made possible by a grant from The Wallace Foundation, a source of ideas for improving school leadership.

Also watch an interview with the co-producer of the documentary THE PRINCIPAL STORY, Tod Lending, and Tresa Dunbar, a featured Principal of Nash Elementary in Chicago on Chicago Tonight on Tuesday, September 15 at 7:00 pm.

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