School Leadership

New York City Leadership Academy (NYCLA) Aspiring Principals Program (APP)

APP is a standards-based, 14-month leadership development program designed to prepare participants to lead instructional improvement efforts in New York City’s high-need public schools—those marked by high poverty and low student achievement. Through a rigorous application process, APP selects a diverse and talented group of educators (including former assistant principals, teachers, coaches and guidance counselors) deeply committed to closing the achievement gap.

Using an action-learning curriculum, APP simulates the actual challenges that New York City public school principals face by immersing participants in authentic problem-solving exercises that build leadership capacity. During the summer intensive, teams of APP participants work on a series of comprehensive projects that reflect the realities of the schools they will soon lead. Participants then spend ten months working with an experienced mentor principal in a school experiencing all aspects of leading—from organizing instructional improvement efforts, to managing school operational issues, to navigating interpersonal and organizational politics. The program culminates in a planning summer as participants prepare to transition into schools. APP graduates commit to serve the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) for five years.


  • Master’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • A minimum of 7 years as a full-time, paid, certified K-12 educator (teacher, guidance counselor, and/or administrator); 5 years of which must be full-time, paid, certified K-12 teaching experience
  • NYS permanent or professional teaching license
  • First priority will be given to holders of the School Building Leader (SBL), School Administrator Supervisor (SAS), or an equivalent certificate--certificate must be issued by New York State or have interstate reciprocity
  • Candidates who do not hold certification must have prior leadership experience and a letter of recommendation from their cluster leader

Program Benefits:

  • Opportunity to “practice the principalship” in a simulated, safe environment that is aligned to DOE expectations
  • Content, leadership knowledge, and skill development 
  • Coaching and support in leveraging areas of strength and developing skills in areas of weakness
  • Networking with a broad community of school leaders committed to improving outcomes for children and youth across the city


  • Winter/spring admissions process
    • online application, references, group and individual interviews
  • Six-week summer intensive
  • Half-year residency
  • Planning summer

Information sessions:

  • January 9, 2014
  • January 28, 2014


Marlene Filewich, Senior Facilitator, Principal Preparation Programs