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. 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 taking on 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 (DOE) for five years.

Skills needed to enter the program or role:

  • Five year minimum of full-time work experience, with at least three years teaching in grades K-12
  • Master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Online application, references, group and individual interviews

Skills gained:

  • Opportunity to "practice the principalship" in a simulated, safe environment that is aligned with DOE expectations
  • Content and leadership knowledge
  • 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


  • Six-week summer intensive
  • Ten-month residency program: four days at the residency school; one day and one evening at NYCLA; approximately one month at a switch residency school; and monthly cohort school visits which include classroom visits, problem of practice
  • Planning summer

Program Contact: Marlene Filewich