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  • George W. Bush Presidential Center

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  • Through our three Impact Centers -- Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda -- we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

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President George W. Bush Meets with New York City Education Leaders

September 14, 2012

President George W. Bush hosted a roundtable discussion in New York City this week to discuss the Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL) initiative. AREL changes the paradigm by which America’s public school principals are recruited, selected, prepared,certified, empowered, compensated, supported, and evaluated. 

Participants included Claudia Aguirre, Principal, Dual Language Middle School (New Leaders); Joanna Belcher, Founding Principal, SPARK Academy (KIPP); Kerri Briggs, Director, Education Reform, George W. Bush Institute; Denise de la Rosa, Resident Principal, New York Department of Education; Jean Desravines, Chief Executive Officer, New Leaders; Ryan Hill, Executive Director, TEAM Schools, a KIPP Region, Newark; Wendy Kopp, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Teach For America; Mark Langdale, President, George W. Bush Foundation; Jim McKeon, Principal, P.S. 146 Howard Beach (New York Leadership Academy); Julian Robertson, Robertson Foundation; Jon Schnur, Executive Chairman & Co-Founder, America Achieves; Dennis Walcott, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education; and Courtney Welsh, Chief Operating Officer, New York City Leadership Academy.

The discussion explored the importance of empowering principals to improve student performance and achievement. 49.3 million American students attend public school every day—led by over 90,000 principals. Cultivating leaders who are able to set a strong vision and culture for schools is critical to creating effective learning environments.

AREL is a network of innovators around the country that are changing the way school principals are chosen, trained, evaluated and empowered. AREL, a program that was announced by Mrs. Laura Bush in September, 2010, focuses on enhancing and empowering the performance of America’s school principals as a means to impact student achievement.

These programs (KIPP, New Leaders, and NYC Leadership Academy) represent three of the five Exemplary level programs within AREL. As exemplary programs, they have conducted evaluation studies demonstrating that the principals trained through these programs are leading successful schools and improving student achievement. The Bush Institute through its work with these programs will help more programsachieve Exemplary status and disseminate the work of these organizations toaffect the development of even more principals.

AREL has more than doubled the number of affiliated principal training programs since it was launched. AREL sites include: Gwinnett County Public Schools, KIPP School Leadership Programs, New Leaders, New York City Leadership Academy, University of Illinois Chicago, Achievement First Residency Program for School Leadership, Building Excellent Schools, ED-Entrepreneur Center, Get Smart Schools, Great Leaders for Great Schools, Long Beach Unified School District, Marian University, The Ryan Fellowship, Principal Preparation Pipeline, Saint Louis University, Teachers College at Columbia University, Chicago Leadership Collaborative, and the Louisiana Alliance to Reform Education Leadership.

The Bush Institute’s education reform team develops programs to ensure every American student completes high school ready for college or prepared for a good career. Through a national network of innovative training sites, AREL creates an expanded and more rigorous selection process, improves principal training, and changes the management context inwhich principals operate, providing them more authority and increased access to data.