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The Syracuse Aspiring Leaders Academy (SALA)

We are excited to announce the continuation of the Syracuse City School District’s program to develop the next generation of transformational school leaders. The Syracuse Aspiring Leaders Academy (SALA) will build the capacity of future principals to lead their schools to increased achievement levels for all students.   We must be committed to invest today in the growth of the leaders of tomorrow.  Our students deserve nothing less.
We all recognize that the school leader is one of the most important factors in the success of a school.   The leader drives achievement through many modes: modeling best practices, creating a climate of accountability and strategic action, guiding staff to high levels of performance, and engaging parents and the community in a shared vision of student success.
Academy participants will be carefully selected from among our district’s motivated and successful leaders and pre-leaders. To apply, you must hold a New York State building or district administrator certificate, or you must currently be enrolled and at least half way through your university program that leads to administrator certification.  In order to be considered for SALA, you must also complete the electronic application (link below) and have two recommendations submitted on your behalf no later than Friday, March 1, 2024.  Interviews will be held the week of March 4-8, 2024. 

With a personalized individual learning plan for each participant, the Academy will provide mentoring by exceptional leaders, classroom instruction, and on-the-job activities. Through these program components, participants will build and strengthen the core competencies required for successful school leadership, covering both instructional and organizational leadership.

We expect that Academy graduates will develop the critical skills, resilience and determination to take on the challenges of an ever-changing environment and produce gains in student achievement.   They will be well-prepared to excel in the role of a building or district leader.  
This is part of a long-term commitment to develop outstanding Syracuse leaders for future generations of our students.   With the strength of highly effective leaders in our schools, our students will have the greatest opportunity for success.

You are invited to apply for the 2024-2025 SALA (Syracuse Aspiring Leaders Academy) Cohort 9.  If you would like to learn more about SALA, please email Jeannie Aversa at

Although this leadership development program is strongly encouraged, it does not ensure promotions.

SALA will be held 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM on Saturdays from March 2024 to July 2024 and applicants should plan to attend all sessions if applying.


"The most important thing that I learned about leading is that every decision must be rooted in your core beliefs.  If we are leading from our core beliefs and making decisions around those beliefs, we are bound to be successful and do what is right for our students and staff."   Melissa Tooley

Top five anti-racist moves:
1)  Understand the existence of white privilege and use it to be a catalyst for positive change.
2)  Create strong relationships with students and learn about their backgrounds.
3)  Hold all students to high standards and expectations.
4)  Making sure your classroom and schools represent students from all backgrounds.
5)  Have an asset base mindset and concentrate on positives of students, not the negatives.

Richard Romeo

What is one strength you learned about yourself that you didn't realize before?

"I am resilient and I have a great bounce back factor.  This year has taught me that I have a great ability to bend without breaking.  The year has presented me with many challenges.  However, with each challenge, I have proven to myself that I am able to rise to each occasion."   Karen Dotson

What is your favorite quote from one of the texts or another person?
"You must develop a mindset for change in order to create a culture of yes."  Learning Transformed...Diane Weismore
"Vision without action is merely a dream.  Action without vision just passes the time.  Vision with action can change the world."  Joel Barker
"Know who you are and what you stand for and be comfortable and stand in that."  Britt Britton

Describe how SALA impacted you professionally and/or personally? 
"SALA impacted me personally because it challenged me to have courageous conversations with people.  It made me understand fully that in order to see change you must lead by example and be willing to push yourself and other people out of their comfort zones.  Change is not easy but at times it is completely necessary.  SALA also impacted me to always think with an asset based mindset throughout situations."   Peter Neeves




Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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