Bainum Family Foundation and NYC Leadership Academy Launch Leadership Coaching Program to Support Administrators in Faith-Based Schools

Bethesda, Maryland (July 11, 2018) — Research repeatedly suggests that principals and teachers are the most significant school factors influencing student achievement, yet there are not always enough on-the-job programs and resources in place to develop talent within an education system — particularly in faith-based education. Just launched this week, the Advancement of Christian Education (ACE) Academy Leadership Coaching Program — developed by the NYC Leadership Academy and the Bainum Family Foundation — is a two-year intensive program designed to help 20 school administrators maximize their impact and better serve students.

This program will pair 10 novice school administrators (“coachees”) with 10 personal leadership coaches within the Columbia Union Conference — part of the Seventh-day Adventist system in the Mid-Atlantic region — for one-on-one training that will benefit both members of the pair as they build skills to navigate the dynamic challenges of leading a 21st-century school, including how to balance stakeholders, grow through their own leadership experiences and confront inequities.

“As educators, we work to prepare our students for success in every way we possibly can — and to strengthen our schools, we must first strengthen our leaders, which is exactly what this program is designed to do,” says Jacqueline Messenger, Associate Director of Secondary Education for the Columbia Union. “The ACE Academy Leadership Coaching Program is truly a godsend, and we are excited to have been selected to participate in launching this program.”

As part of the Bainum Family Foundation’s ongoing support for Seventh-day Adventist education, ACE Academy was developed in 2015 to help faith-based school leaders and teachers grow and succeed — enhancing skills in strategy, operations, management and instruction. Through these learning and development opportunities, ACE Academy empowers leadership teams to increase staff engagement and foster equitable learning environments that prepare all children for success. In partnership with the NYC Leadership Academy — a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that develops and supports educational leaders to confront inequities and create the conditions necessary for all students to thrive — the ACE Academy Leadership Coaching Program is being piloted as a potential model that could be replicated in other faith-based settings.

According to Amy Soper, Director of the Seventh-day Adventist Initiative for the Bainum Family Foundation, program participants were selected by the Foundation, the Leadership Academy and the Columbia Union. Coachees, who are early on in their leadership careers, submitted an application that detailed their interest and experience. Coaches, who are established leaders in the education system, went through a more rigorous process that included an in-person interview.

“For all participants in this program, we were looking for individuals committed to continuous learning and growth,” says Soper. “Our coaches will spearhead growth for our coachees, but the process is relationship-driven and personalized. The coaches will actively recognize and help develop their coachees’ unique strengths so they can reach their full potential and become the best leaders they can be.”

“Coaching must be an integral part of any sound human capital strategy if we are going to transform schools,” says Nancy Gutierrez, NYC Leadership Academy Chief Strategy Officer. “We are thrilled to work with Columbia Union’s principals to help them develop the skills they need to address inequities in their schools so that each of their students has the chance to excel.”

According to Barbara Bainum, the Foundation’s Chair of the Board, CEO and President, the Foundation has a long-standing commitment to faith-based education. “This new coaching program will equip administrators to best serve their students and strengthen their schools, while advancing our mission of helping children, families and communities thrive.”


The Bainum Family Foundation combines proven expertise with a passion for supporting the whole child by providing integrated services to help them thrive. Our circle of collaboration includes investments and support in early learning, wrap-around services and knowledge building. Founded in 1968 by Stewart and Jane Bainum, the Foundation has helped underserved children exit poverty through high-quality educational programs and services for 50 years. Visit

NYC Leadership Academy is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that builds the capacity of educational leaders, at every level of the system, to confront inequities and create the conditions necessary for all students to thrive. Since 2003, the Leadership Academy has worked with educators in more than in 185 school systems across 32 states and Washington, D.C. Visit



Ann Egan
Senior Director of Communications
Bainum Family Foundation

Jill Grossman
Senior Director of Communications & Research
NYC Leadership Academy

Michelle Bernard
Assistant Director of Communication
Columbia Union Conference