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Urban School Leaders

Welcome to the NASSP Urban School Leadership Center!

Listen to an interview with Brother Nick Gonzalez below!

NASSP created the Resources for Urban Schools Center to improve the association's capacity to serve urban school leaders.

Topics of interest include the professional development and school improvement needs of urban school leaders as well as providing practical resources. The Center focuses on enhancing urban school leaders’ initiatives through example:

Breakthrough Schools
School Leader's Review
Voices of Experience


Breakthrough Schools

Listen as  the principals that spearheaded school improvement within an urban setting discuss how they set and acheived their goals:

Listen to a podcast interview with a 2010 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School Principal Brother Nick Gonzales of San Miguel High School, Tucson, Arizona

Listen to a podcast interview with a 2009 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School Principal Joan Brixey of Daniel Webster Middle School, Waukegan, Illinois 

For more interviews with Breakthrough School principals, visit the Breakthrough Schools Archives


School Leader's Review

Stay up-to-date on the most important issues in urban school leadership:

Listen to a podcast interview with Judith Richardson, director of diversity, equity, and urban initiatives, as she discusses what diversity and equity mean in today's schools and the kinds of tools principals need in schools that are increasingly diverse

Listen to a podcast interview with Lynnell Theard Gibson as she dicusses her research on urban schools  and how they continue to fall short in yielding immediate and continued increases in ninth to tenth grade promotion rates

For more updates, visit the School Leader's Review Podcast Archive


Voices of Experience

Jim Dierke is principal of Visitation Valley Middle School in California’s San Francisco School District. This urban school has been called “an island of safety in a sea of trouble” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Jim was the 2008 Met-Life/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year.

Listen to a podcast interview with Jim Dierke, a highly regarded middle level leader, sharing his thoughts and experiences on leading an urban school

For more interviews with highly regarded middle level leaders, visit the Voices of Experience archive


Other Resources

NASSP aims to provide urban school leaders with professional resources as part of their diversity inititiative. Read more on the plan to develop an urban strand at the NASSP Convention.



  • Shaping School Culture
    Share the secrets for success of principals in seven high-achieving, high-poverty urban middle level schools. By Ali Callicoatte Picucci, Amanda Brownson, Rahel Kahlert, and Andy Sobel
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