The Wallace Foundation Renews Second Year of Support for NYC Leadership Academy

August 05, 2004


The Wallace Foundation Renews Second Year of Support for NYC Leadership Academy

$5 million grant supports the second class of 91 aspiring principals

Related $440,000 grant to Thirteen/WNET New York extends television series following three first-year principals

NEW YORK, NY, August 5, 2004 – The Wallace Foundation has awarded $5 million for the second of up to three years of funding for the NYC Leadership Academy as it launches its second class of 91 aspiring principals.  The Academy recruits and trains a new generation of principals capable of helping all children achieve at higher levels. 

“Education leadership is a vital element in successful school improvement and better student performance,” said M. Christine DeVita, president of The Wallace Foundation.  “We hope that lessons drawn from the Academy’s program will help change how school systems nationwide prepare and support principals to ensure a high-quality education for all children.” 

“We are enormously grateful to The Wallace Foundation for its continuing support of our work on school leadership,” said New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein.  “Improving school leadership is essential to transforming public education and, with its usual foresight, Wallace has been instrumental in fashioning a national agenda on this critical issue.”

Founded in July 2003, the Leadership Academy provides a fourteen-month training program for aspiring principals.  During its pilot year the Aspiring Principals Program successfully advanced its first class of candidates through intensive summer training and placed them in schools with mentor principals for the school year. 

Some 1,300 applicants competed for the 91 second-year places in the program; 18 of those selected were from outside the New York City public school system. With a large number of retirements on the horizon, it is anticipated that at the end of three years half of the city’s 1,200 principals will have been trained by the academy, which works with experienced principals as well as aspiring candidates.

To improve the new principals’ chances of success, the academy is stepping up its coordination with the New York State Education Department, unions, universities and the ten regional superintendents.  Care is taken, for example, to match individual principals with schools where they are likely to do well.

The Aspiring Principal’s Program is one part of The Wallace Foundation’s nationwide effort to advance student achievement by improving leadership in education.  The foundation has active programs in 12 school districts around the country, including Region 1 in New York City.  These local programs are coordinated with initiatives underway at the state level in 15 states.  All of these efforts are aimed at producing better leaders focused on learning and on improving the conditions, such as the authority and incentives they are given, that affect their success.  The Foundation’s goal is to share the lessons learned in these programs with all districts nationwide.

Support Extended to Public TV Series

The Wallace Foundation has also extended support of Thirteen/WNET New York’s New York Voices series entitled “A Year of Change: Leadership in the Principal’s Office.”  The first year of funding produced three public television segments, which have drawn more than half a million viewers from the New York tri-state area.  The series, which will culminate in an hour-long documentary in October, follows the experiences of three aspiring principals during their year at the Leadership Academy.  Segments to be produced next year with a $440,000 grant will follow them into their new schools as they begin their careers as principals.

In addition, Channel Thirteen will develop online resources, including expanded segments from the television series, training materials and web links, for principals and their mentors. 
The Wallace Foundation seeks to support and share effective ideas and practices that enable institutions to expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people. Its current objectives are to:

  • Strengthen education leadership to improve student achievement;
  • Improve after-school learning opportunities; and 
  • Expand participation in arts and culture.
For more information and research on the Foundation, please visit