Dr. Nancy B. Gutiérrez today becomes President & CEO of the NYC Leadership Academy. Previously Chief Strategy Officer at the Leadership Academy, Dr. Gutiérrez succeeds Irma Zardoya, who led the organization for seven years. Dr. Gutiérrez’s appointment was announced in July.
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 both strong leadership skills and a deep understanding of the root causes of systemic inequities within the context they are leading. At the Leadership Academy, we have always worked to develop leaders with these skills, and I am honored to lead our amazing team in continuing that work.” Read more on Dr. Gutiérrez’s educational philosophy.
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 Education 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.”
Outgoing Leadership Academy CEO 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, 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.”
About 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 systems across 33 states, Washington, D.C., and internationally.
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