The principal is a minor character in the film, being the principal of Tom and Murphy Cooper's school. He appears to be acquainted with Cooper before Cooper is requested to attend a parent-teacher conference at his children's school. He is portrayed by David Oyelowo.
During the meeting, the principal presents Tom's test results to Cooper, who is deeply unhappy to learn that despite Tom's apparently excellent marks, his son will become a farmer instead of an engineer. When the principal justifies that the universities will only accept one student and Tom's marks are not high enough, Cooper's attempts to berates the principal are countered with the argument that the world needs more farmers, not engineers.
Unable to force the principal to reconsider Tom's educational and career prospects, Cooper is further outraged to learn that the principal and Murph's teacher, Ms. Hanley, have peddled the falsehood that the lunar landings were faked to bankrupt the Soviet Union.
The novel gives his name as William Okafor. The name and character are only featured for the brief sequence regarding the parent-teacher conference.