The NYC Leadership Academy has been selected to work with New York State’s three largest school districts outside of New York City to develop and launch innovative professional learning programs for aspiring school leaders. Under the New York State Model P-20 Partnerships for Principal Preparation program, the Leadership Academy is partnering with the Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers school districts to redesign their aspiring leader programs.

“It takes a great leader to create and sustain a school that gives every child access to the learning opportunities they need to succeed,” NYC Leadership Academy President & CEO Dr. Nancy Gutiérrez said. “To ensure every school has the strong leader it needs at any given time, school systems must have a strong bench of leaders. The NYC Leadership Academy is thrilled to support Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers’ commitments to developing their school leader pipelines.”

Authorized under Title II, Part A, of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, the Model P-20 program brings together nonprofit and university partners to collaborate on the re-design of principal preparation programs so that aspiring school leaders are equipped to take on the challenges of leading high-need schools and improving student learning. Bank Street Graduate School of Education will partner with the Leadership Academy and district teams in Yonkers and Rochester. In Buffalo, the State University of New York at Buffalo will be the university partner. Buffalo has 60 schools serving 33,415 students; Rochester has 50 schools serving 30,000 students; and Yonkers has 39 schools serving 26,500.

The programs will include at their core an in-school residency, the hallmark of the Leadership Academy’s own aspiring principal programs. While much research has found the importance of hands-on experiential learning in adult professional learning, in-school residencies are often missing from traditional principal preparation programs. The programs in Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers will also focus on preparing leaders to identify and address inequities in their schools. The Leadership Academy will support each district in screening and interviewing applicants; developing program competencies, rubrics, and assessments; recruiting mentor principals; and training program facilitators and co-facilitating professional learning sessions throughout the year. Each district will have an initial cohort of 10 – 15 aspiring leaders, chosen through a rigorous and selective application process. The districts launched their recruitment efforts in March with information sessions that drew a combined crowd of more than 200 aspiring leaders. The programs will begin with a summer intensive in July and continue with a residency throughout the 2019-20 school year.

“Today’s educational leaders must have a deep understanding about leading for equity,” notes Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools. “Our collaborative work with the Leadership Academy addresses the changing landscape of school level leadership. This work is important as it transforms school leader preparation by immersing participants in authentic learning. Using competency-based rubrics, participants will be able to experience firsthand the integration of skills and knowledge. Additionally, the focus on culturally responsive instruction combined with whole community approaches to students’ social and emotional well-being supports school leaders’ work towards equity.”

Said Rochester City School District Chief of School Equity Dr. Idonia Owens, “Developing school leaders who are equity oriented and culturally responsive is a goal of the Rochester City School District. We are pleased to collaborate with NYCLA and Bank Street to transform talented teachers into equity advocates and instructional visionaries who are able to address and overcome the complex societal and historical factors that contribute to inequity. It is critical to build a pipeline of strong school leaders who can boldly drive the course of action required to improve outcomes.”

As a recognized leader in teacher and leader preparation, Bank Street’s long-established educator preparation model recognizes that all individuals learn best when they are actively engaged with materials, ideas, and people. It’s renowned approach to teaching and learning combines a deep understanding of human development and educational theory with a disciplined commitment to observation and reflection and the creation of meaningful learning opportunities for the learning and growth of all students.

“Bank Street views teachers and leaders as facilitators of learning. We are pleased to partner with the Leadership Academy to help prepare thoughtful educators who understand how to create learning environments that help students thrive in school and in life,” said Anthony Conelli, Chair, Educational Leadership at Bank Street Graduate School of Education.

About the 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 185 school districts, state education departments, and education organizations across 35 states, Washington, D.C., and two countries. The Leadership Academy was founded to develop and lead New York City’s Aspiring Principals Program and since then has supported 10 other school systems in developing their own principal preparation programs.

About the Bank Street Graduate School of Education

Bank Street Graduate School of Education is a recognized leader in teacher and leader preparation and the development of innovative practice in schools, childcare settings, and learning communities. By combining the study of human development, pedagogical learning theory, and sustained clinical practice, our approach to teaching and learning produces thoughtful, well-prepared educators ready to create nurturing opportunities for the ongoing social, emotional, and cognitive development of all students. Learn more about Bank Street Graduate School of Education at

Contact: Jill Grossman 347-558-6464;