Mission & Vision

“Our partnership with the Leadership Academy is helping us become a culturally-competent district equipped to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse student population.”

Minerva Spanner-Morrow, Chief Diversity Officer,
Hillsborough County Public Schools

Vision: We envision a nation where every school and school system is intentionally built to ensure children of every race, ethnicity, language, and other identity characteristics have what they need to achieve academic, social, and emotional success. 

Mission: We build 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. 

Leadership Academy's History

The Leadership Academy started in 2003 with our groundbreaking, research-based Aspiring Principals Program, which trained close to 600 principals, most of them women and leaders of color, who have served in some of New York City’s schools most in need of support and change.

Seeing our initial success in New York City, school systems across the country began approaching us to help them develop leadership pipelines and strengthen leader practices.

Over the years, we have sharpened our focus on the “how” of dismantling systemic inequities in schools: culturally responsive leadership. We have supported thousands of leaders in more than 300 school systems and educational organizations across 39 states and Washington, D.C., and we continue to expand our reach. As we engage with so many diverse communities, our own work continuously strengthens while our mission remains constant: to develop great leaders committed to leading schools intentionally built to serve every child.

Our Leadership

Our decades of collective experience as district superintendents, principal supervisors, principals, and leadership coaches, all with expertise in and a deep commitment to disrupting inequities, enable us to support aspiring and sitting leaders striving to give each student access to the opportunities they need to thrive.

Nancy B. Gutiérrez, Ed.L.D.

Lead Executive Officer & President

Dr. Nancy B. Gutiérrez is President & Lead Executive Officer (LEO) of The Leadership Academy, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and developing culturally responsive school and school system leaders to create the conditions necessary for all students to thrive. Since 2003, The Leadership Academy has done work in more than 375 school districts, state education departments, and education organizations across the country, reaching over 12,000 educators in 39 states.

Nancy began her career as a teacher and principal in her home community of East San Jose, CA, where she was the founding principal of Renaissance Academy, the highest performing middle school in the district and a California Distinguished School. Nancy also led the successful effort to turn around the district’s lowest performing middle school. She was named the UC Davis Rising Star and Association of California School Administrators’ Region 8 Middle School Principal of the Year in 2010. In 2014, Nancy joined The Leadership Academy and served in various roles before being named President & CEO in October 2018. Prior to her tenure with the Leadership Academy, Nancy launched a program for executive leadership advancement for the New York City Department of Education that led to superintendent certification.

Nancy is a Fall 2019 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and was named one of the top 100 most influential leaders in education in New York in 2020. In 2023, Nancy was named San Jose State University’s Distinguished Alumna.

Nancy is a graduate of the inaugural cohort of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) program and is a graduate of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Aspiring Superintendents Academy. She has served as an adjunct professor for NYU, Teachers College and American University as well as an expert guest at various Harvard Principals’ Center Institutes. Nancy is a frequent keynote speaker and has authored numerous pieces on education leadership for publications including Education Week, Kappan, The74, Learning Forward’s Learning Professional, District Administrator, and Hechinger Report. She is also the co-author of Stay and Prevail: Students of Color Don’t Need to Leave Their Communities to Succeed, a revolutionary guide to disrupting harmful mindsets and practices in our schools to ensure that students can thrive in their home communities.

Nancy is a member of the Board of Directors at the Hunt Institute, brightbeam, and Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC), and serves on the Latinos for Education teaching team.

Find Nancy on Twitter @nancybgutierrez or LinkedIn.

Mary Rice-Boothe, Ed.D.

Executive Director, Curriculum Development & Equity

Mary Rice-Boothe, Ed.D., joined The Leadership Academy in 2015 and currently serves as Executive Director, Curriculum Development & Equity. In this role, she oversees The Leadership Academy’s internal and external equity strategy, design, and collaboration, and ensures expanded access to our work through different learning systems. At The Leadership Academy, she has had the opportunity to partner with school systems across the country to support them in implementing their equity policies. Mary has also supported the development of equity-focused resources for district-level leaders looking to name and dismantle the inequitable practices they are seeing at the school and district level. Mary came to The Leadership Academy with more than 20 years of experience in education as a teacher, principal, mentor, and coach. Before joining TLA, she worked at New Leaders, a national non-profit organization, as Executive Director of Content and Assessment, leading the team that designed, developed, and delivered content and assessments for the organization. She began her career in education as an high school English teacher in East Harlem. Mary is a certified Courageous Conversations about Race Affiliate and a certified Facilitative Leadership Trainer. She sits on the board of Marathon Kids. Mary holds a BA in Metropolitan Studies from New York University, an MA in English and English Education from the City College of New York, and a Doctorate Degree in Leadership and Organizational Change from the University of Southern California. Her book, focused on leaders of color, will be published by ASCD in 2022. Mary lives in Round Rock, Texas, with her mom, husband, daughter, and son.

Mary Jo Dunnington

Executive Director, Business Development, Communications, & Finance

Mary Jo joined the Leadership Academy in 2011 to help grow the organization’s national consulting practice as Chief Strategic Partnerships and Communications Officer, and now serves as Executive Director, Business Development & Finance. Prior to joining the Leadership Academy, she served as Chief Operating Officer of the Partnership for New York City, which led the fundraising campaign that helped launch the Leadership Academy. Previously, she served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at All Kinds of Minds, which provided training and tools for educators based on research from neuroscience on how people learn. Mary Jo began her career in education at the National Geographic Society, where she developed and implemented teacher training and outreach programs and facilitated the development of teacher leadership networks. Mary Jo has also focused on student learning as a mentor to students at the Young Women’s Leadership School in Harlem and at the Higher Achievement Program in Washington, D.C., and has taught both supplemental ESL and national high school civics classes. Mary Jo was a Morehead Scholar at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned both an MBA and an MA in Education from Stanford University.

Michelle Jarney

Executive Director, Learning & Strategy

Michelle joined the The Leadership Academy in 2004 and now serves as the organization’s Executive Director, Learning & Strategy. In that capacity, she spearheads the organization’s internal capacity building, ensuring organizational sustainability and growth. As one of the designers of the Leadership Academy’s signature coaching model, Michelle continues to implement direct service programs as well as facilitate capacity building for clients seeking to develop in-house expertise in leadership coaching. Additionally, she brings her extensive experience as a curriculum designer, facilitator, and consultant to a range of leadership development initiatives in districts throughout the country. Prior to her work with the Leadership Academy, Michelle was the Director of Education for the Union Square Partnership, where she developed an award-winning, public-private partnership that leveraged the resources of the private sector to support NYC public school students through innovative enrichment programs and career readiness opportunities. Michelle holds an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA from Union College. Having reveled in games and puzzles as a child, Michelle continues to take great (perhaps excessive) pride in her ability to complete the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle.

Carole Learned-Miller, Ed.L.D.

Executive Director, Innovation & Operations

As Executive Director, Innovation & Operations, Carole serves as a thought partner and advisor to the CEO, supporting the organization’s strategic goals and initiatives. Since joining the Leadership Academy in 2017 as a fellow from Harvard University’s Education Leadership program, she has helped lead district and state level work with partners across the country, including designing professional learning experiences for leaders in Cypress-Fairbanks, TX; Somerville, MA; and Fayette County, KY. In Hillsborough County, FL, Carole co-designed an equity walk tool and co-led learning sessions for the superintendent’s leadership team in analyzing the district’s work to dismantle inequities and to create a strategic plan focused on equity. She recently co-facilitated the NYC Department of Education First Vice Chancellor’s leadership retreat and in Rochester, NY, led the superintendent’s leadership team in analyzing the district’s work to dismantle inequities and to create a strategic plan focused on equity. She has also led training for principals and superintendents for the Nevada Department of Education and worked with district-level administrators to create curricula for aspiring and new principals in both Cleveland and Chicago. Carole is the lead researcher and author of the The Leadership Academy’s Equity at Work guide for district leaders on equity-focused strategic planning. Carole is a former teacher, principal, and central office administrator. She has taught aspiring teachers and principals at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts and has served as a coach for aspiring and sitting administrators. She was an Ambach Fellow at the Massachusetts Department of Education, where she focused on equity projects such as assisting with the oversight of the METCO desegregation program. Carole enjoys writing about leadership and equity and her work has been published by the Century Foundation and the National Coalition on School Diversity. Carole holds a doctorate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education’s Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) program.

David Baiz, Ed.L.D.

Executive Director, Programs

David Baiz joined The Leadership Academy in October 2020 as a National Designer & Facilitator and now serves as the Executive Director, Programs. Inspired by The Leadership Academy’s shift to equity-focused, culturally responsive leadership, David was thrilled to join the team and support adults across the sector in this important work. David has over a decade of experience serving students in New York City. He is an award-winning math teacher and former principal of Global Tech Prep Middle School in East Harlem, a technology- and wellness-focused school. Students thrived at the school, which earned high marks in positive school culture, student academic growth, teacher effectiveness, and parent satisfaction. As part of the Harvard Doctor of Education Leadership program, David worked with the College Board to lead expansion efforts of computer science and civics in high schools across the country through their AP Computer Science Principles and AP U.S. Government and Politics courses. David holds a Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University, a Master of Science in Mathematics Education from City College of New York (CUNY), a Master of Education with a focus on school leadership from Bank Street Graduate School of Education, and a Doctor of Education Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Anthony King, Ed.L.D.

Executive Director, External Engagement

Dr. Anthony King, Ed. L.D., joined the Leadership Academy in 2022 and currently serves as Executive Director of External Engagement. Prior to joining the Leadership Academy, Anthony served as the Director of Continuous Improvement for the Sonoma County Office of Education in Santa Rosa, CA. In his role, he supported several districts throughout the county in their improvement efforts and the development of their Local Control and Accountability Plans. He also led the 21st Century California School Leadership Academy for five counties in the California North Bay region where he led the planning and implementation of professional learning opportunities, communities of practice, and leadership coaching focused on equity and continuous improvement. These offerings were designed to develop school leadership at multiple levels of educational systems. Dr. King has experience working with numerous schools, districts, national and regional foundations, and state departments of education across the country. Anthony has 14 years of experience in education, having previously served the students and families of Independence, MO as a former elementary teacher and principal. Anthony holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with emphases in math, physics, and Black studies and an M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. He also holds an Educational Specialist degree in administration from the University of Central Missouri and he earned his doctorate in education leadership—Ed.L.D.— from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Meet Our People


Current opportunities:

The Leadership Academy staff are a diverse group of experts and innovators in our fields, able to use our deep experience to support educational leadership development.

Each member of our team is dedicated to the belief that every child and adult should receive what they need to achieve their potential, and that their race, culture, and other characteristics of their identity should not prevent access to opportunities and resources. Read The Leadership Academy’s Core Values here. We provide opportunities for our team members to develop and grow so that they can do their best work and in turn have a lasting impact on educational leaders and their students.

We recruit professionals who

  • bring diversity across race, gender, and culture to our team
  • share our deep commitment to our mission of ensuring that all children have access to the learning opportunities they need to excel
  • approach this work with urgency, enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity
  • thrive in a challenging and engaging environment
  • see the value in collaboration, flexibility, and reflection.

Our team is 48% people of color, and over the last couple years, more than 85% of new hires have been people of color.

We prioritize finding the best candidates, whom we know do not always come from traditional backgrounds. If you are interested in a particular position but do not meet all of the listed qualifications, please still apply. If you have questions about your qualifications, feel free to contact us to discuss your application.

Career benefits

We provide a benefits package of up to 24 days of paid time off; five additional days for holiday office closures; and sick time and paid holidays. We also provide generously-funded benefits including medical, dental, and vision. 

Our recruitment process

All resumes and cover letters are carefully reviewed. Phone interviews are conducted with candidates whose resumes are most compatible with the position requirements. Invitations for in-person panel interviews are extended to those candidates who are determined to be most aligned with organizational requisites.

Sign up for news and updates