What if every child attended a great
What if there were a team of leaders in
each school with the skills to support academic excellence for ALL students?
By supporting New Leaders this holiday
season, you have joined a movement to recruit outstanding educators from across
the country and develop them into transformational principals and leaders for
students in high-poverty schools.
One such leader is Abdullah Zaki of
Kelly Miller Middle School in Washington, DC. The school offers one of only two
Gifted and Talented programs in DC’s Ward 7; however, when Abdullah arrived as
principal in 2010, academic achievement was low, and truancy and suspensions
were common. Kelly Miller’s population of more than 350 students is nearly 100%
African-American and more than 90% qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.
In spite of these challenges, Abdullah
knew that his students deserved better. Leaning on experience gleaned from over
15 years as an educator in the DC Public Schools, as well as the leadership
skills he learned through New Leaders’ Aspiring Principals Program, Abdullah focused
his efforts on supporting teachers to use data to make decisions about teaching.
He also prioritized quality professional development opportunities for teachers
and establishing a culture of equity, excellence and high expectations for all
Under Abdullah’s leadership, truancy has
dropped from 30% to 1% and suspensions have dropped by over 50%. Over a
three-year period, Kelly Miller students’ scores have increased more than 30%
in math and more than 15% in reading. In November 2013, Abdullah was recognized
as the District of Columbia Public Schools’ Principal of the Year and was
presented with the Excellence in Leadership Award.
About the strength of the community at
Kelly Miller, one student states, "It’s like home because I come to school and
I just feel surrounded by all my family members. Mr. Zaki is like the father of
In response, Abdullah says, "We refer to
ourselves as a family, so we hold each other accountable for everything that we
do. We just believe that if we stay focused on student achievement, if we stay
focused on improving students’ lives, that we will have one of the best school
systems in America."
Every student in our country deserves an
Abdullah in his or her school. New Leaders believes that supporting education
is the most important thing we can do for our children and for our country–and
that making sure every school has a great leader and leadership team is the
best way to start. We already serve 250,000 children and their families in
high-need neighborhoods across the country, and, thanks to your support, we’re
growing to serve 500,000 children over the next three years. Thank you for
joining us and supporting this work.
Read more »