The NYC Leadership Academy today announced it is changing its name to The Leadership Academy and adopting an updated look with a new tagline, “Empowering leaders. Transforming schools for every student.” At the heart of the rebrand is a sharpened focus on the “how” of building more equitable schools: culturally responsive leadership. To provide education leaders with new insight into the work of culturally responsive leadership, The Leadership Academy today releases “Culturally Responsive Leadership: A Framework for School and School System Leaders,” a unique and innovative research-based set of actions that weave culturally responsive actions across all levels of leadership from aspiring principals to superintendents.
“The word ‘equity’ is used all the time in education, but what does that mean, what does it look like to truly lead schools and school systems in ways that disrupt systemic barriers, racist structures, and create learning experiences intentionally built to meet the needs of every child?” said The Leadership Academy President & CEO Dr. Nancy Gutiérrez. “Being culturally responsive is the work at the heart of making school systems more equitable.”
Added The Leadership Academy’s Chief Access & Equity Officer Mary Rice-Boothe, “Being culturally responsive means recognizing the impact of institutionalized racism and embracing your role in mitigating, disrupting, and dismantling systemic oppression. To quote Gloria Ladsen-Billings, the mother of culturally relevant education, ‘The teacher’s role is not merely to help kids fit into an unfair system, but rather to give them the skills, the knowledge and the dispositions to change the inequity.’”
Founded in 2003 to meet the critical need for strong principals in New York City, particularly women and leaders of color, The Leadership Academy has since expanded its work to more than 200 school systems across 36 states, developing and supporting thousands leaders at every level of the system, from aspiring principals to school board members. Says Dr. Gutiérrez of the name change, “While we value and cherish our New York City roots, our vision is for all children of every race, ethnicity, and other identity characteristics to have what they need to achieve academic, social, and emotional success. By dropping the ‘NYC’ from our name, we are reinforcing our commitment to building the capacity of education leaders within their context in communities across the country as a way to support real sustainable change for children.”
In the coming weeks, The Leadership Academy will release additional resources and supports to guide leaders and their teams in creating more culturally responsive learning environments for their students. The new resources can be used across all platforms, in person and remotely, and include an equity-focused classroom walkthrough guide to help leaders and teachers identify inequitable practices in classrooms that are impeding students’ learning experiences and to unpack how to disrupt those practices and better serve Black, Indigenous, and students of color. The month will be capped with an in-depth virtual conversation with Dr. Gutiérrez, John King of Education Trust and Denver Superintendent Susana Cordova on the policies and practices needed to disrupt inequities across school systems. This conversation will be held on Oct. 22 from 4 – 5 p.m. Register here.
One of the many districts The Leadership Academy has done this work with is Des Moines Public Schools. “The partnership with The Leadership Academy is critical to not only the success of Des Moines Public Schools in terms of continuing to challenge our own paradigms and our own individual and collective dispositions and systemic mindsets, but also because they validate when the work is really hard,” said Des Moines Public Schools Associate Superintendent Matt Smith. “You need a partner in the work who says that what you are embarking on is about changing lives and changing how we see each other and how we serve one another and you are going to impact humanity, and now that you are experiencing it, we are in his with you. Being in the arena with us is just as significant as changing our thoughts and our paradigms around this work.”
About The Leadership Academy
The 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 thousands of leaders in more than 200 school systems across 36 states, Washington, D.C., and two countries.