A documentary film on The Leadership Academy will premiere on public television this Friday, Oct. 9Part of The Visionariesan award-winning public television series hosted by acclaimed actor Sam Waterston of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie and formerly of NBC’s Law & Orderthe program takeyou inside two school districts to see up close how The Leadership Academy partners with school systems to support and develop culturally responsive leaders and educators 

The program premieres this Friday, Oct. 9, at 5:30 p.m. on WDSC public television station in Orlando, FL, available to viewers in Volusia, Flagler, Seminole, Brevard, Orange, Putnam, Marion, Lake, and Osceola counties. You can view the trailer hereThe development of this film was generously funded by The Wallace Foundation, The Carson Family Charitable Trust, and American Reading Company.  

Now in its 24th season, Visionaries has produced hundreds of short films on the impact nonprofit organizations around the world are having on their communities. “COVID-19 has helped illustrate some of the stark inequalities our world faces and, more than ever, the critical role nonprofits play in addressing these inequities,” said Visionaries senior producer Jody Santos. “The organizations we’re profiling in Season 24 are working to build a stronger, more just society in which no one gets left behind.”  

Added actor and Visionaries host Sam Waterston, “I believe that the central idea of The Visionaries — doing what you can about huge, intractable problems — is an idea worth encouraging.

Selected from hundreds of nonprofit organization applicants from around the world to be part of the 12-part series, The Leadership Academy shares the story of its work in Des Moines Public Schools, IA, and Lexington County School District One, SC, where The Leadership Academy staff has been partnering with school and district leaders to take a comprehensive approach to identifying and disrupting systemic inequities. Viewers will spend time in classrooms and professional learning sessions, and hear directly from students, teachers, principals, and district leaders. The 27-minute program also includes interviews with former New York City Schools Chancellor and Leadership Academy founder Joel Klein; The Leadership Academy President & CEO Nancy Gutiérrez; and several Leadership Academy alums including NYC Executive Superintendent for Manhattan Marisol Rosales, Leadership Academy Chief Access & Equity Officer Mary Rice-Boothe, and Leadership Academy Executive Vice President Michele Shannon.   

“Transforming schools to be culturally responsive is challenging but essential work,” says Dr. Gutiérrez. “The best way to share with school systems what this work can look like and the impact it can have on students and educators is to show the work in action. This Visionaries program gives unique insight into the effort, conversations, and challenges leaders are grappling with as they become more culturally responsive in two very different school districts — one urban and one suburban and rural — in two different areas of the country.”   

Visionaries will air on public television stations across the country through next summerViewers can find the programming schedule on Visionaries’ website, and are encouraged to contact their local stations if they do not see The Leadership Academy episode listed on the schedule.  

About The Leadership Academy 

The Leadership Academy (formerly NYC Leadership Academy) is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that builds the capacity of educational leaders, at every level of the system, to disrupt systemic inequities and create the conditions necessary for all students to thrive. Since 2003, The Leadership Academy has worked with educators in more than 200 school districts, state education departments, and education organizations across 36 states, Washington, D.C., and two countries. 

About Visionaries 

The Visionaries documentary series, hosted by acclaimed actor Sam Waterston, highlights the rarely told stories of individuals and nonprofit organizations that are working to create positive social change throughout the world. Visionaries, winner of several Telly Awards and Emmy nominations for Best Documentary, has produced over 230 documentaries shot in over 65 countries and all over the US. Visionaries has aired on PBS stations throughout the nation for 23 seasons. For more information, please visit www.visionaries.org.