Social Capitalists: New Leaders for New Schools

43 entrepreneurs who are changing the world
2007 Social Capitalist Winner

New Leaders for New Schools

New York, NY
Year founded: 2000
CEO: Jon Schnur
www.nlns.org

A team of education, policy and business leaders created New Leaders for New Schools in 2000 with a simple premise: great principals lead great schools. The organization set out to recruit talented people with strong leadership potential -- both from within and outside school districts -- and train them to become outstanding urban school principals.

Today, New Leaders for New Schools is a national organization with a three-year program that includes a year of intensive coursework and hands-on training, two years of coaching and support, and a national alumni network. By 2014, the organization expects to have 2,000 New Leaders impacting one million students.

New Leaders for New Schools' training program prepares participants to become outstanding principals who can diagnose the needs of their schools, guide and develop teachers, and manage their schools with a strong focus on student achievement. By fundamentally reshaping how principals are prepared, New Leaders for New Schools has seeded significant improvement in urban schools and school systems around the country, including New York, Oakland, Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis, and Washington, D.C.

New Leaders for New Schools seeks to create direct and systemic impact by: 1) increasing student achievement and 2) transforming entire districts by demonstrating proven, system-wide strategies to attract, prepare and support leaders effectively. New Leaders are achieving impressive results:

  • 96% of New Leaders from the first four classes earned placements as school leaders after completing their residency year.
  • This year, 329 New Leaders are serving over 164,000 students.
  • 75% of schools led by New Leaders principals for at least two consecutive years made noteworthy progress in student performance during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years. Average gains ranged from 9% to 20% in math and reading over that two-year period.

The nation's prosperity depends on the ability of all young people to reach high levels of knowledge and achievement, but there is a profound achievement gap disproportionately affecting students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Compounding this issue are two other growing problems: the nation's growing shortage of principals -- with nearly 50% of urban principals eligible to retire in the next five years -- and the failure of traditional principal development programs to adequately prepare principals for leading urban public schools. New Leaders for New Schools aims to transform K-12 education by producing a critical mass of principals ready to succeed and by catalyzing change in urban schools and school systems nationwide.

Over the last five years, New Leaders for New Schools has built a diverse and talented leadership team. CEO and co-founder is Jonathan Schnur, who formerly served as an advisor to Secretary of Education Richard Riley, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. The leadership team also includes Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder Ben Fenton (experience in the business and nonprofit sectors), Chief Cities Officer Jean Desravines (longtime leadership team member for New York City Public Schools Chancellor Joel Klein), and Chief People Development Officer Rod Washington (nearly 20 years of organizational development and leadership experience). New Leaders for New Schools' staff includes more than 100 people, 19 of whom are former successful principals.

New Leaders has also galvanized a coalition of corporate and philanthropic supporters, including FedEx, The Boeing Company, AOL Time Warner, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Broad Foundation, New Profit, Inc. and NewSchools Venture Fund.

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