This holiday season, we at the NYC Leadership Academy are grateful for the dedicated school and school system leaders across the country who take risks every day to improve learning opportunities for their students. With a gift to the NYC Leadership Academy, you will join a national effort to develop transformative leaders who in turn give young people access to more challenging classes, more effective teachers, and to the support they need to be their best selves.
Why focus on leaders? Consider my own experience. As a Chicana growing up in East San Jose, CA, I was often made to feel that I was a problem that needed fixing, that my community was somehow broken. I was labeled a “troublemaker,” and teachers explicitly asked that I not be placed in their classes. Not Mr. Lovelace. He sought me out and welcomed me into his classroom. Over that year he ignited within me the love for learning I always had but had never been encouraged to explore. He helped me find my voice, emboldened me to write my story for a state-level competition and to advocate against policies I believed were unfair to youth of color living with limited resources like myself – from school uniform policies to state level propositions restricting access to health care and public education for undocumented families. At the end of the year, Mr. Lovelace named me “Most Improved” student.
It is not an overstatement to say that Mr. Lovelace changed my life. He helped get me where I am today. But he was one teacher, and one teacher alone cannot transform a system. To have schools full of great teachers, you need great leaders. At the NYC Leadership Academy, we are committed to exponentially expanding access to high-quality learning opportunities for every child, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, by supporting and developing great leaders who have the power and reach to create those opportunities for their students.
Each donation to the NYC Leadership Academy directly supports current and aspiring school and school system leaders who are learning to embody strong, thoughtful leadership skills and to establish systems and structures for identifying, addressing, and dismantling inequities. In 2018 alone, we reached nearly 1,000 leaders in dozens of school systems across 23 states, who in turn reached more than 3 million students. We have only touched the surface.
Con Ganas We Can,
Dr. Nancy B. Gutiérrez