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Statement from Dr. Sybil Francis, CFA President & CEO Governor Ducey’s $700,000 Investment for BTO Academy

Posted on April 30, 2021 • Category: News Release

Governor Doug Ducey’s announcement on April 29 that the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) will receive a $700,000 investment for the Beat the Odds School Leadership Academy (BTO Academy) demonstrates a clear commitment to school leaders and a recognition of the critical role they have in student success.

This funding doubles the investment made in the BTO Academy with previous Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding, which is currently being used to train 125 principals, impacting nearly 50,000 students across six counties in our state. CFA will use the new funds to further expand access to the BTO Academy for public school leaders across Arizona.

This is a timely and needed investment as school leaders grapple with the effects of the pandemic and continue to work alongside teachers and staff to make sure Arizona students are on a path to success.

The BTO Academy provides principals and school system leaders with executive leadership training that helps them create better quality schools and improve outcomes for students.

High quality principals are vital to the success of our schools. According to research, school leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning. Arizonans also recognize the critical importance of strong leaders and teachers. We know from CFA’s recently released 2020 Gallup Arizona Survey that 92 percent of all Arizonans want to make sure all schools have great teachers and principals.

CFA launched the BTO Academy in 2017 with public-private investment support from Governor Ducey, Helios Education Foundation and the Burton Family Foundation. Since then, CFA has provided executive leadership training to 290 Arizona school leaders from more than 45 public school districts and charter networks serving predominantly under-resourced communities across Arizona.

CFA continues to rapidly expand the BTO Academy statewide. With investment from the Office of the Governor, Arizona GEAR UP, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community 12% Gaming Grant Program and other philanthropic funds matched by local public charter and district investment, CFA has expanded the BTO Academy in the last year into Yuma County, deepened work in Coconino, Mohave and Yavapai Counties, and increased the number of best-in-class BTO Academy facilitators who lead the training.

We are excited to advance this critical work with current and new partners to achieve excellence and equity in education for students in all Arizona communities.


Sybil Francis
Sybil Francis, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Center for the Future of Arizona 


Read Governor's News Release