The Five Most Famous School Principals of All Time

Written by on January 9, 2013 in Family - No comments | Print this page


after view of my classroom

When you think of famous school principals, television icons such as Principal Victoria from South Park may first come to mind. But real life holds examples of five famous school principals that make Principal Skinner from the Simpsons seem dull by comparison. Two of these principals have become so famous, in fact, that Hollywood has made movies about them.

1. Pam Camper

During her time as principal at Russell D. Jones Elementary School in Rogers, Arkansas, Camper has made her mark. After identifying that three-quarters of her students did not speak English as a first language, camper hired bilingual teachers and language development teachers to partner together to bring students up to par.

Camper is renown for maintaining 100 percent attendance at parent-teacher conferences. She spearheaded a book acquisition project raising funds to add 4,000 new books into the Russell D. Jones Elementary School library. She was given the 2012 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership for these efforts.

2. Wesley Taylor

This principal at Lowndes High School in Valdosta won the 2011 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the year award. He is famous for mentoring young teachers and dramatically increasing test scores at his high school. His dedication resulted in significantly increased graduation rates, relationship building and individual focus on the students that lead to a thriving school atmosphere.

3. Molly Howard

Howard was named the 2008 Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals for her work at Jefferson County High School in Louisville, Georgia. She was given this award for increasing graduation rates and raising test scores in her poverty-stricken school district. She is an excellent role model, putting in an average of 75-tireless hours per week.

4. Dr. George McKenna III

McKenna has spent almost 50 years working for the Los Angeles Unified School District. McKenna’s superlative efforts as principal of Washington Prep High School in the 1980s caused him to be immortalized on film by Denzel Washington in a film simply titled, The George McKenna Story.

McKenna was known as a tough administrator, who fought to get each student in his charge a quality education. He passionately worked to rid his tough inner-city school of drugs, gangs, and poor teacher morale.

McKenna is famous for piloting a model known as “parents training parents” in which experienced parents mentor less experienced counterparts. Because he saw the “bigger picture,” McKenna lobbied successfully to pass parent’s rights legislation.

5. Joe Clark

This principal became so famous that the actor Morgan Freeman played him in the movie, Lean on Me. Clark harnessed his experiences as drill instructor in the military to taming the violence at Eastside High in Paterson, New Jersey. In just two years, he turned the school around to such an extent that the governor of New Jersey named Eastside a “model school.” Clark was later voted into the top ten “Principals of Leadership” in 1986.

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This is a guest post.  Richard Fields is a school administrator and guest author at Best Education Degrees, where he contributed to the guide to the Top Online Masters in Education Degree Programs.


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