A Brief History of ISA
Supporting High Schools Since 1990
In 1990, philanthropists Lilo and Gerard Leeds founded ISA as a non-profit organization committed to improving the educational conditions and outcomes for America’s under-served youth. As a result of their deep commitment to excellent and equitable schools for all children, the organization provided wrap-around services for cohorts of students in eight Long Island high schools.
In 2000, after 10 years of measurable success, ISA resolved to extend its reach to serve more students. Under the new leadership of Dr. Gerry House, a nationally recognized educator, ISA became a redesign partner to schools, with an evidence-based whole-school reform model, grounded in research and practitioner expertise, and the goal of graduating all students prepared for success in college and careers.
In 2001, ISA tapped NCREST, the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools & Teaching (NCREST) at Teachers College, Columbia University, as a strategic education partner. NCREST’s co-director, Dr. Jacqueline Ancess, has collaborated with ISA on the design, development, and implementation of ISA’s high school reform model and continues to be an active ISA partner.
Since 2001, ISA has engaged in whole school-reform, school redesign, and new school starts in cities including Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, and New York. Today, our footprint includes the states of New York, New Jersey, Ohio, California, Minnesota, and North Carolina.
The Educational Testing Service became the parent organization of ISA in January of 2013. Through the mutual agreement of both boards, the two nonprofit organizations merged.
In 2017, Dr. Stephanie Wood-Garnett became the president of ISA, ushering in a new era for our organization. Formerly, Wood-Garnett was the Vice President of Policy to Practice at the Alliance for Excellent Education. Her portfolio included deeper learning, college and career ready academic standards, assessment, science of learning, and diversity and equity initiatives. Dr. Wood-Garnett is an accomplished educator with extensive experience in leading complex P–20 education reform initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.