The NYC Leadership Academy tomorrow will launch the West Michigan Leadership Academy, a program to support and develop school leaders in schools in West Michigan, in partnership with the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation and the Steelcase Foundation.

Intended in its first phase to improve student outcomes in schools in Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Wyoming, by strengthening school leadership with a focus on building leaders’ capacity to identify and address achievement gaps and other inequities, the West Michigan Leadership Academy aims to support more than 120 leaders over its first five years. For the 2018-19 school year, 23 sitting school leaders from five urban districts will participate. The program will equip leaders with the skills to manage and develop solutions for some of their districts’ biggest challenges, from principal turnover to significant student demographic shifts.

“We know firsthand that schools cannot improve student learning without examining and addressing the root cause of gaps in achievement and access,” said Leadership Academy President & CEO Irma Zardoya. “We are thrilled to partner with the Doug and Maria DeVos and Steelcase foundations to support West Michigan schools in this work.”

“We are extremely pleased to be able to support our school leaders with meaningful, relevant professional learning that has the potential to transform educational outcomes for all children in our community.” said Luis Lugo, Director of Community Initiatives at Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, which along with the Steelcase Foundation is committed to supporting this multi-year, multi-million-dollar initiative. “Partnering with the NYC Leadership Academy connects our local educators with a nationally recognized program that has a proven track record of success and that includes top-notch experts and resources.”

Said Steelcase President Julie Ridenour, “The opportunity to embed the NYC Leadership Academy and its educational leadership practices in the work of our community’s academic leaders and educators is one that can benefit learning and understanding for students and staff alike. The NYC Leadership Academy will lead this locally comprehensive effort to deepen practice and learning, and ultimately better the lives of the children who are the reason for this program.”

School leaders in the three-year program will participate in a series of workshops and learning experiences that will support them in developing a vision for equity and a plan for making and monitoring progress toward that vision, including staff and community roles in implementation. They will also engage in targeted sessions on communication, distributive leadership, data fluency and application, equitable practice, and assessing progress and impact, and work one-on-one with a leadership coach for the duration of their participation.

Representatives from both foundations sit on the advisory board that will provide program oversight and direction, along with leaders from Kent Intermediate School District and the five participating local school districts: Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, Godwin Heights Public Schools, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kentwood Public Schools, and Wyoming Public Schools.

About NYC Leadership Academy

NYC Leadership Academy is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that builds the capacity of educational leaders, at every level of the system, to confront inequities and create the conditions necessary for all students to thrive. Since 2003, NYCLA has worked with educators in 150 school districts, state education departments, and education organizations across 32 states, Washington, D.C., and two countries.


Contact: Jill Grossman