Boston College’s groundbreaking Lynch Leadership Academy, which sharpens the skills of current and future leaders of public, charter, and Catholic schools, has launched its first off-campus program, a “micro academy” serving school leaders in the South Coast region of Massachusetts.

Jenne Colasacco

Lynch Leadership Academy Executive Director Jenne Colasacco

The three-year South Coast Micro Academy will work with three school leaders each from New Bedford Public Schools and Fall River Public Schools; two leaders each from schools in the Diocese of Fall River, and the New Bedford charter schools City on A Hill and Alma del Mar; and a leader from both Nativity Preparatory School and Our Sisters’ School, Catholic schools located in New Bedford.

The micro academy participants meet for full-day and half-day workshops in the fall, winter, and spring and receive two in-person coaching sessions at their schools during the 2018-19 academic year, said Lynch Leadership Academy Executive Director Jenne Colasacco.

“The South Coast Micro Academy will provide these leaders with high-quality professional development and leadership coaching that enables them to build capacity as school leaders in order to increase student achievement and lead their organizations through positive change,” said Colasacco. “We want to help them disrupt inequity and change the system to the benefit of their students, teachers, staff, and school communities.”

The first educational leadership development program in the country to bring together principals from public, charter and Catholic schools, the Lynch Leadership Academy was founded in 2011 through a $20 million gift from the Lynch Foundation, created by University Trustee Peter S. Lynch ’65 Hon. ’95, P’01, and his late wife, Carolyn Hon. ’09, P’01.

“The Carney Family Charitable Foundation strongly believes that leadership development is a key component of improving education outcomes for the students in New Bedford, Fall River and the Diocese of Fall River,” said Glenn Oliveira, director of foundation programs. “We are excited to collaborate with Boston College’s Lynch Leadership Academy to provide education leaders in our region a leadership development opportunity they would not otherwise receive.  We anticipate the development of a rich collaborative environment rooted in the three core components of the Lynch Leadership Academy: instructional leadership, organizational management, and equity.”

The micro academy was piloted last year with several principals from schools of the Diocese of Fall River. The success prompted Colasacco to expand the effort to include public and charter schools with financial support from the Carney Family Foundation and BankFive, a Fall River-based bank.

The Lynch Leadership Academy has brought eight classes of Lynch Fellows to BC for its 14-month leadership development program that employs a combination of lectures, course work, leadership coaching, and peer mentoring.

To date, the academy has served more than 191 principals and aspiring principals, who provide leadership to schools that educate approximately 80,000 students combined.

The micro academy sessions will focus on the theme “Leading Through Change,” said Colasacco. Subject areas include data-driven assessment, adaptive leadership, managing change, and a range of leadership issues. Participants in the micro academy are eligible to apply for the full fellowship program at BC.

“For us, the key is the integration of high-quality professional development and coaching, targeted to the needs of the leader and the school community,” said Colasacco. “We offer something many professional development options don’t: workshops and guaranteed multiple one-to-one coaching sessions. It’s that feature which allows leaders to implement new learning in their schools immediately.”


—Ed Hayward | University Communications | November 2018