NYCLA staff is largely comprised of former public school leaders who have transformed schools and who leverage that expertise to support clients and program participants.

Irma Zardoya, President & CEO, and Liliana Polo-McKenna, Vice President of Leadership Support and a graduate of NYCLA’s New York City Aspiring Principals Program, each recently participated in different Expert Q&A’s hosted by XQ: The Super School Project. This project is an open contest that invites teams with innovative ideas to submit proposals for high schools that will prepare students for the challenges they face today and tomorrow.

In the very first Q&A, Liliana shared her experience as the founding principal of an alternative Brooklyn high school, which serves over-age and under-credited students. She described how she combined a focus on youth development with rigorous teaching and learning to improve outcomes for a student population that had typically experienced school in negative ways. She also discussed the challenges and opportunities associated with being bold enough to enact values of educational equity so that her students would earn their diplomas and have substantive post-high school college and career options. Listen to the full conversation, here.

In another Q&A, Irma joined fellow panelists to discuss strategies focused on student agency and engagement. Irma highlighted the importance of school leadership in creating a culture of learning in schools and setting high expectations for students. Additionally, she spoke about the importance of showing confidence in students’ abilities to meet those expectations and supporting teachers to work to capture students’ interest and potential.  Listen to the full conversation, here

We are thrilled that XQ: The Super School Project tapped the expertise of Irma and Liliana as it tackles the enormous challenge of rethinking high school.