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  Network ConnectVolume 4, Issue 2

School Leaders Network Newsletter

Spring 2011 

Dear Colleagues,

Our country is at a crisis point in funding for public education; 44 out of 50 states in the U.S. are facing monumental deficits.

In Texas, schools are potentially facing somewhere between a 4 and 9 billion dollar deficit across the state. This is the same situation California has been dealing with for several years now, with no end in sight. In New York City, if a principal has been prudent in guarding a limited school budget, he or she now has to give back some of what they scrimped.  

You read about it or hear about these situations every day; these onslaughts on funding continue in various forms across the country. On top of this, stories abound touting that there are school leaders not worth the positions they hold, and should be let go.

What you don't hear about is that the majority of the principals in this country are either good or great principals. These school leaders remain passionate, committed and driven to create the right conditions for students to achieve in every way they can. Every day, great school leaders are rising to the increased challenge of losing staff and resources and are working with their school communities to increase teacher capacity, uplift school cultures and increase student success.


It is most important to take a minute to recognize these tireless and dedicated individuals who are the single most critical element in whole school change across our country. There is no amount of accolades that are sufficient to heap upon these school leaders. They need our support and encouragement, especially in these times. The only way to get great schools is to support our school leaders who can do the job.

Elizabeth Neale
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

School Leaders Network



Cahn Fellows Program Names SLN Principals

Three SLN Principals in New York City have been named to the Cahn Fellows 2011 cohort in recognition of their distinguished school leadership.  
Designed to strenghten the city's schools and run by Teachers College, the Cahn Fellows Program was established in 2003 to recognize and invest in effective school leaders. The program counts one of SLN's funding partners, Council of School Administrators, as a long-time sponsor.    
The selection process, which includes an analysis of three years of data, interviews and school visits, is conducted by a committee of educators from a number of organizations.
SLN is pleased and proud to announce that Magalie Alexis, Park Slope Elementary/Middle School 282, and April Leong, Liberation Diploma Plus High School from NYC 6 and Franca Conti, PS 217, from NYC 1 have been named Fellows. All of the schools are in Brooklyn and the principals are in Networks led by John Jenkins.  
2010 Student Achievement Data for SLN Principals Released


SLN has completed and released an analysis of student achievement data for 2010 for Networks in the New York, San Antonio and Massachusetts clusters. The analysis points to two key outcomes:  SLN Principal-led schools made greater gains than schools that did not participate in SLN and secondly, that SLN Principals who have bee in the program for multiple years showed more significant gains.


Some highlights of the findings are:
  • In Massachusetts, high schools led by SLN Principals outperformed the state graduation rate, with an average of 83%.
  • On average, SLN high schools in NYC had higher weighted math Regents pass rates than 84% of peer* schools.
  • Rochester, New York K-8 schools led by SLN Principals for 3+ years outperformed the district over time according to mean scale score points. Between 2007 and 2010 those SLN schools gained an average of 42 scale score points in math/ELA combined compared to 31 scale score points for the district as a whole.
  • Among principals in San Antonio who participated in SLN for 3 years, a full 86% increased proficiency rates in math.  

SLN Pilots EPIC Tools


Mariah Cone, SLN National Program Director, with funding from MetLife Foundation and The Boeing Corporation, is conducting a study on incorporating EPIC tools into the SLN Program Model.  


EPIC is a New Leaders for New Schools library of best practice artifacts and videos which exemplify strong leadership. SLN is testing the use of these videos to spur the deep level thinking that the SLN Program demands for member principals to become effective change agents.


The pilot, launched in January, includes SLN's first Network in Los Angeles. Led by Mariah Cone, the Network is a mix of 60% charter school leaders, while the other 40% are from district schools. The pilot also includes the NLNS/SLN Oakland Network in San Francisco led by Melissa Barnes-Dholakia and Tatiana Epanchin-Troyan. This Network is also comprised of a mix of charter and district school leaders, all New Leaders for New Schools principals and was launched last fall. 

SLN Hosts "Connecting Research and Practice in Leadership Pipelines and Development"
On Monday, May 9th, SLN will host an up-close conversation to consider the learning, growth and impact that school leadership is having on the success and progress of schools in NYC and across the country. Our program will bring members of the research and philanthropic communities together with leadership preparation programs, school district leaders and practicing principals to share what we now know about best practices in recruiting, preparing and sustaining high quality school leaders.

Eloise Messineo, Ph.D., Executive Director of Executive Leadership Insititute will moderate the talk, partcipating in the panel discussion are:
  • Maria Esponda, Executive Director, Leadership Development, NYC Department of Education
  • Casey Jones, Principal, Innovation Diploma Plus High School
  • Claire McIntee, Vice President Leadership Support Programs, NYC Leadership Academy
  • Shane Mulhern, Executive Director, Greater New York Program, New Leaders for New Schools
  • Elizabeth Neale, Ed.D., Founder and CEO, School Leaders Network
  • Jody Spiro, Ed.D., Senior Program Officer, The Wallace Foundation

The gathering will also provide an opportunity for alumni members to reconnect, current members to share their work this year and future members to experience the impact of the School Leaders Network experience. 


The event takes place from 5 - 7 PM at Eamonn Doran Restaurant and is open to all members of the School Leaders Network community. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Armine Gambaryan at before May 6th.



Leadership in Difficult Times - San Antonio Symposium


On June 1st, SLN Principals, alumuni and other members of the School Leaders Network community will come together in San Antonio for an important conversation about leadership in the face of funding shortfalls in education.


Elizabeth Neale, Ed.D., Founder and CEO of School Leaders Network, will launch the event with her opening remarks and Mariah Cone, Ed.D., SLN National Program Director, will lead the discussion. Speakers from various stakeholder organizations will share their insights, observations and guidance on navigating in these difficult times: 

  • Lori Gallegos, Principal, Kuentz Elementary in Northside ISD and SLN Facilitator, "How to Support and Lead Adults in Difficult Times".
  • Gary Patterson, Superintendent of East Central ISD, "How to Lead Transparently When the Going Gets Tough".
  • Dr. Shari Albright, Norine R. Murchison Distinguished Professor of Practice and Chair, Department of Education, Trinity University, "How University Partners Envision Support in Times of Fiscal Crisis"
  • Dr. Gloria Canada, Retired Principal and Founder of Circles of Purpose, Building Partnerships Between Families and Schools, "How to Engage Parents and Community Members to Fill the Void Caused by Fiscal and Human Resources Losses".

Please join us! This event is being held at the Canyon Springs Golf Club in San Antonio. RSVP to Armine Gambaryan at


Contact Information
Elizabeth Neale, CEO and Founder
School Leaders Network
1100 East Washington Road
Hinsdale, Massachusetts 01235

In This Issue
Cahn Fellows Named
2010 Student Achievement Data Released
EPIC Tools Pilot
SLN Hosts Panel in NYC
San Antonio Symposium
Contact Information

We believe... 
professional development programs must support principals not only in the acquisition of skills and knowledge, but through their
efforts to plan and implement change. 


We would like to recognize those who have and are supporting our mission of transforming school leaders into empowered, highly effective change agents who improve school climate and culture and drive increased student achievement.


$1,000,000 and Above

The Rainwater Charitable Foundation

$250,000 to $499,999

MetLife Foundation


   $100,000 to $249,000

 The Booth Ferris Foundation

The Meadows Foundation


$50,000 to $99,999

The Boeing Company

Council of School Supervisors and Administrators

Harold K.L. Castle Foundation

NewSchools Venture Fund 


$10,000 to $49,999 

W.L.S. Spencer Foundation  

Cipione Family Foundation
East Bay Charter Connect
Mark Facey 


$5,000 to $9,999 

The Andrews Family Foundation 

The Rhode Island Foundation  


 Up to $5,000

Raise Your Hand Texas

 Legacy Bank

Berkshire Bank Foundation

Todd Gutchow



For a complete list of SLN supporters, please click here. 



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