Marquitta Speller, Principal of Promise Academy Charter High School in the Harlem Children’s Zone

“The training that I received in the leadership program at CSI has helped prepare me for success in a demanding educational environment. After completing the program, I became a more reflective educator and leader.”

Those are the words of Marquitta Speller, Principal of Promise Academy Charter High School in the Harlem Children’s Zone, which seeks to break the cycle of poverty for all 10,000 children in a 97-block zone of Harlem.

“CSI teaches you how to lead with purpose and with vision. When your mission in life is to change the lives of children, these are the tools that you need to experience success.”

Speller, Promise Academy Principal since January 2010, completed her certification requirements at CSI in 2003. The skills that uniquely qualified her for her important position in a groundbreaking charter school environment can also be found in every high school on Staten Island.

That’s right; every high school on Staten Island currently employs at least one administrator who has honed his or her skills with a Leadership in Education Certificate from CSI. However, graduates from CSI’s Leadership in Education program aren’t a well-kept secret.

“These high-quality candidates go on to careers as administrators throughout New York City and the region as Assistant Principals, Principals, and Superintendents,” noted Ruth Powers Silverberg, EdD, coordinator of the Post-Master’s Advanced Certificate Program for Leadership in Education at CSI. “We currently have over 120 educational leaders in the system.”

“The students who are accepted into this highly competitive program join a cohort of fellow students, which helps foster a community of learning,” Silverberg said. “This learning community of highly qualified and motivated students moves through the program together so that they can provide a support system for each other in the program and beyond.”

“The CSI program focuses on how school leaders create conditions in schools that support high-quality teaching and learning for all students,” commented program alum Frank Giordano, Principal of Brooklyn’s MS 443. “At the same time, the CSI program is intensely personal, focusing on the leadership development of each participant.”

Courses include curriculum to human relations, as well as research and practice in educational leadership. Along with theory-driven coursework, students also gain valuable field experience through fieldwork projects focused on school and district level issues. Unique to CSI, students in the program also complete full-time internships in a New York City summer school program.

“These program components better prepare the candidate for a highly competitive career in the New York school system and also provide the opportunity to network with current leaders, many of whom are also fellow graduates,” Silverberg stated. “This further positions them to be the strongest possible school leaders.”

The next class of the Post-Master’s Certificate in Leadership in Education begins in July. Applications are currently being accepted. For questions, please contact the CSI Office of Graduate Admissions at 718.982.2019. The College of Staten Island, located at 2800 Victory Boulevard, is a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban university.

Leadership Graduates at a Glance

-Approximately 320 graduates in 19 graduating classes since 1997
-Every High School on Staten Island employs at least one program graduate
-6 District Supervisors
-2 Agency Directors
-44 employed on Staten Island
-51 employed in Brooklyn
-10 employed in Manhattan
-2 employed in Queens
-2 employed in Parochial schools
-5 employed in New Jersey

What Do Leadership Graduates Have to Say?

“I found the Leadership in Education program at CSI to be a thought-provoking, rigorous, and in-depth experience. The learning environment is collaborative, innovative, and reflective. The summer internship is an invaluable training experience and great networking opportunity. As a result, I felt thoroughly prepared and confident in my administrative abilities.”

-Philip J. Carollo, Assistant Principal, PS 22, Staten Island

“I am a graduate of the Leadership Program at the College of Staten Island. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is planning to go into an educational leadership role. All of the instructors are highly knowledgeable about what an educational leader needs, and are clearly in touch with the recent practices that are used in public schools. Sound strategies were provided and multiple opportunities were given in which we were able to explore, create, devise, and reflect on what an effective leader needs.

I am currently a principal of an elementary school and I have utilized many of the skills that I gained from my experiences at the Leadership Program at CSI.”

-Sophie Scamardella, Principal, PS 65 (The Academy of Innovative Learning) Staten Island

“I am a graduate of the Leadership Program of the College of Staten Island from nine years ago. The program has given me the foundation necessary to lead in New York City’s complex and dynamic educational system.”

-Joseph Scarmato, Principal, High School for Medical Professions, Brooklyn

“My course work in CSI was an experience that allowed me to collaborate with other professionals and to gain insight from professors who modeled the elements of effective leadership. I thank CSI for focusing my vision toward a constructivist-based leadership style”

-Malky Plutchok MS, CCC-SLP, SBL, SDL, Supervisor of Speech, Cluster 5

“Taking part in the CSI Leadership Program provided me with the opportunity to make great connections in all areas of the school community, as well as develop my skills as an administrator. I recognized that a school’s structure should be set up where every person has an active and equally important role in setting high expectations of clear academic goals for all students. In addition, it became clear that a leader can change or improve the climate of a school by exemplifying qualities of support, appreciation, recognition, and honest leadership to brighten the tone of a school environment and promote learning.”

-Maria Bender, Assistant Principal of Mathematics, IS 72, Staten Island