PFAD Past and Present


On April 16th, business and civic leaders will head into public schools around New York City for PENCIL’s Principal For A Day®. While there, they will engage with the principal, teachers and students, share their professional experiences and learn what a day at a New York City public school is really like. But how did this event begin?

In 1995, Principal For A Day® was launched to bring together the private and public sectors of the city. Invited to shadow principals, business professionals not only learned about the challenges and rewards of the job; they also introduced students to opportunities that would help set them on paths to success. The event marked the beginning of lasting relationships between businesses and schools, with incredible leaders like Michael Bloomberg and the CEO of Sony Music offering their support.

Almost 25 years later, PENCIL is reaching over 150 schools around the city through Principal For A Day®, and participants are still excited by the lasting positive impact it has on them.

Last year, Founder and Executive Director of BYkids, Holly Carter, traveled to the South Bronx Academy for Applied Media. A non-profit organization, BYkids gives young people a voice by pairing them with film professionals around the world to create short documentaries on topical issues. On Principal For A Day®, Holly had the chance to speak about her work, including a recent film directed by a Brooklyn high school student.

Reflecting on her experience, she said, “It was my honor to share our BYkids film POET AGAINST PREJUDICE and a lively conversation with the students and inspiring Principal Roshone Ault Lee at the South Bronx Academy for Applied Media. Students shared their own stories of bullying, immigration and Islamophobia. I loved being in the classroom with our film, able to spark meaningful and healing conversation. An amazing day!”

PENCIL is grateful for the schools and leaders like Holly who help make Principal For A Day® possible and we are excited for the new relationships that will come from this year’s event. We can’t wait for April 16th, and make sure to follow us on social media for updates from around the city to hear how these partnerships are helping to open eyes, open minds, and open doors.