The NYC Leadership Academy is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that prepares and supports passionate, high-quality educators to lead schools that accelerate student learning and that increases the capacity of systems across the country to develop and support such educational leaders.

Vision for Impact

NYCLA is committed to improving outcomes nationwide, particularly for the most vulnerable students, through high-quality school leadership.


The NYC Leadership Academy (NYCLA) was founded in 2003 with the mission to prepare and support aspiring school leaders to meet the growing demand for qualified principals in New York City public schools. At the time there were 1,257 schools in New York City and it was predicted that 600 of those schools would need new principals in the coming years. This situation was made even more challenging because the city had many hard-to-staff and failing schools at the time. Public and private partners made investments to develop and implement an aspiring principals program, driven by what a leader must know and be able to do to successfully lead a school through its first year.

As NYCLA expanded its suite of services, education leaders from across the country requested our consulting services to build and strengthen their own leadership development programs. In response to these inquiries, we epanded our scope of services to collaborate with clients in other parts of the country. Since 2008, we have worked with more than 40 clients in 26 states. Now in our second decade, we are still evolving, expanding and learning – but what we can say with complete confidence is that school leaders, under seriously challenging conditions, are capable of transforming schools if provided the right training and support.


Our approach to leadership development is clearly articulated. We start by identifying what school leaders need to know and be able to do to succeed. Then we design and support the implementation of programs that enable educators to master that knowledge and hone those skills. Our leadership development model emphasizes hands-on and job-embedded learning, practical skills, and the ongoing self-reflection that enables educators to continue to build and refine their leadership practice.


Our programs and services are steeped in school simulations and job-embedded experiences, emphasize teamwork, and prepare educators for the real-world challenges they will face. They are also innovative, realistic and tailored to school system priorities so that participants can hit the ground running. Our goal is to work together with our clients to fully implement leadership development programs that are sustainable for years to come because they build the capacity of the leaders and districts we support.