The NYC Leadership Academy today announced the selection of Dr. Nancy Gutiérrez as its next president and CEO. Dr. Gutiérrez, who currently is Chief Strategy Officer at the Leadership Academy, succeeds Irma Zardoya who has held the position since 2011. Dr. Gutiérrez’s appointment is effective October 1.

“Irma has done tremendous work over the last seven years to grow the Leadership Academy from an organization that developed principals solely in New York City to one that has expanded nationally. The Leadership Academy’s work now spans 32 states and improves education leadership at every level throughout US schools,” said NYC Leadership Academy Board Chair Jonathan Moses. “Over 15 years, we have reached more than 4,200 school and school system leaders who are now leading for equity with more targeted skills and knowledge, and whose work touches 5.5 million children.”

Dr. Gutiérrez’s vision for the Leadership Academy comes from her life-long belief in education as a critical lever for equity and social justice. “Leaders, at every level of the school system, are the forces for change in our schools,” Dr. Gutiérrez said. “But to undo deep-seated inequities, you need leaders who have strong leadership skills and a deep understanding of the root causes of systemic inequities. At the Leadership Academy, we have always worked to develop leaders with both skill sets, and I am honored to lead our amazing team in continuing that work.”

Dr. Gutiérrez began her career as a teacher and principal in her home community of East San Jose, California, where she founded and led Renaissance Academy, the highest performing middle school in the district and a California Distinguished School. Achieving that success, she went on to lead an effort to turn around the district’s lowest performing middle school, located only two blocks from her childhood home.

Since joining the NYC Leadership Academy in 2014, Dr. Gutiérrez has played an essential role in crafting the organization’s strategy to expand its national reach and deepen its focus on equity. As Chief Strategy Officer, she has been at the forefront of developing and overseeing the implementation of the Leadership Academy’s 2020 strategic plan. Prior to working at the Leadership Academy, Dr. Gutiérrez led the development of a critical piece of the New York City Department of Education’s leadership pipeline, launching a program for high performing executives that enticed them to stay and advance within the district by offering valuable professional learning opportunities and superintendent certification. She holds a Doctorate of Education Leadership from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Said Deborah Jewell-Sherman, the Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Practice for Educational Leadership, Harvard Graduate School of Education, “Dr. Gutiérrez, a member of the first cohort of Harvard’s Doctorate of Ed. Leadership, is a living embodiment of HGSE’s mission to have students ‘learn to change the world.’ She is a transformative and brilliant leader, who has worked tirelessly to ensure excellence and equity for all learners through the empowerment of teachers, principals and district administrators. Her Harvard faculty and fellow alums salute the Leadership Academy for its past efforts and await with heightened anticipation the unprecedented impact it will make under Dr. Gutiérrez’s leadership.”

Ms. Zardoya has had a 45-year career in education, during which she served as a bilingual teacher, principal, and superintendent of District 10 and Region 1 in the Bronx. She took the helm of the Leadership Academy in 2011.

“The time has come for me to proudly hand over the reins to Nancy while knowing that the Leadership Academy is in a place of strength, primed to continue to have an impact and grow under new leadership. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a devoted and supportive Board of Directors and an amazing team and am proud of all we have accomplished in our partnerships with schools, districts, and states,” said Ms. Zardoya. “Nancy is the perfect leader to build on this work, making sure equity is front and center as school and school system leaders consider how to improve their schools on behalf of all students, parents, and communities.”


Contact: Jill Grossman