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George McKenna, III

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Information about George McKenna, III

Profile image of George McKenna, III

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
High School Principal

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Beans (Red), Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Excellence has nothing to fear from observation.

Birthplace

Born:
9/6/1940
Birth Location:
New Orleans, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
High School Principal

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Beans (Red), Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Excellence has nothing to fear from observation.

Birthplace

Born:
9/6/1940
Birth Location:
New Orleans
See how George McKenna, III is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

George McKenna III was born in New Orleans into a family that was steeped deeply in the culture and history of the city. At the age of twenty, he received a B.A. in mathematics from Xavier University and was awarded a teaching fellowship to Loyola University, where he earned an M.A. in mathematics. He also holds a doctor of education degree from Xavier University.

In 1962, McKenna accepted a teaching position in the Los Angeles Unified School District. While continuing his education at Loyola University Law School, the University of California, Los Angeles and California State University at Los Angeles, McKenna remained a teacher, working at both the secondary and college levels.

McKenna became principal of George Washington Preparatory High School in 1979. At the time, this high school was one of the most notorious and violent in Los Angeles, replete with gangs, drug dealing and gun fights. McKenna and his reform tactics turned George Washington Preparatory High School around, transforming it from a failing institution to one where nearly eighty percent of its graduates went on to college.

McKenna’s programs have been modeled throughout the nation. He has served as a consultant to numerous school districts and law enforcement agencies. He is also the author of several articles that have appeared in local and national newspapers and educational journals. McKenna has received more than 400 citations and awards from civic, legislative and professional organizations. His work led to his being the subject of the award-winning CBS movie, The George McKenna Story, starring Denzel Washington.

In 1989, McKenna received the Congressional Black Caucus’ Chairman’s Award and in 1997 was elected into the National Alliance of Black School Educators’ Hall of Fame.

See how George McKenna, III is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George McKenna interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George McKenna's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George McKenna talks about his father's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George McKenna recalls the segregated New Orleans of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George McKenna discusses Creoles and prejudice amongst African Americans in Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George McKenna discusses his family's history as educators
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George McKenna describes his mother's background and personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George McKenna recalls his formal education through college
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - George McKenna shares his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - George McKenna describes attributes from his parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George McKenna reflects on his segregated background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George McKenna gives his views on the failing public school system
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George McKenna recalls his early studies in black history
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George McKenna talks about his siblings and attitudes towards education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George McKenna explains why he chose teaching as a profession
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George McKenna talks about his college experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George McKenna details his years in graduate school at Loyola University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George McKenna recounts his move to Los Angeles and his marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - George McKenna describes living in South Central Los Angeles in the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - George McKenna reflects on his early years teaching in Los Angeles
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George McKenna remembers the aftermath of the Watts riots of 1965
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George McKenna cites some of his successes as a public schools educator
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George McKenna comments on the lack of parental participation in public schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George McKenna talks about his beliefs in disciplining children
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George McKenna gives his ideas on how to repair the public school system
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George McKenna recalls his years as principal of George Washington High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George McKenna reflects on his success as a principal
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George McKenna describes the support system he instituted at Washington High School in Los Angeles
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George McKenna reflects on the publicity he received at Washington High School in Los Angeles
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George McKenna discusses the concept for the movie 'The George McKenna Story'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George McKenna details the research he conducted for the movie 'The George McKenna Story'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George McKenna ponders his future career endeavors
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George McKenna talks about how his success would be perceived by his teacher and mother
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George McKenna comments on the actor Denzel Washington