Equity-Focused, Improving Student Outcomes

The Academy for Urban School Leadership is a nonprofit organization that provides equity-focused programming to improve educational outcomes for students in underinvested communities.

Twenty years ago, Mike Koldyke envisioned that aspiring teachers in a year-long residency program would stay in our city’s most under resourced schools. In partnership with former CPS CEO Arne Duncan and experienced westside CPS principal Don Feinstein, a new model for teacher preparation was developed.

Through our nationally-recognized Teacher Residency Program, AUSL recruits and trains diverse teachers with the passion and skillset to serve long-term in under-resourced communities. Through AUSL Advisory Services and their Liberated Way approach, we leverage two decades of success transforming schools to help schools and school districts across the country.


We develop high-quality, committed educators through our teachers residency program.


Our holistic school model allows schools across the nation to support their teachers, staff, and students.

Management Team

Shane Caterino

Managing Director, External Relations

Donald Feinstein, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Michael Whitmore

Managing Director, Teaching & Learning

Board of Directors

Lindsey Axel*

Bantam Capital

Zaid Abdul-Aleem*

Managing Director at Moelis & Company

Jennifer Chuang
James E. Cowie*

President & Chief Executive Officer, Collegis Education

Brian Doyal*

Co-Head of Global Investment Banking, Robert W. Baird & Co.

Donald Feinstein, Ph.D.*

Executive Director, AUSL

Munu Gandhi*

President and Chief Operating Officer, ITsavvy

Craig Goesel

Senior Vice President of Management Liability, Alliant/Mesirow Insurance Services

Jackie Jodl*

Senior Vice President of Global Youth and Education, Special Olympics

Martin J. Koldyke*

Founder and Chair Emeritus, AUSL

Robert E. King***

Salt Creek Ventures, LLC

Liz Lefkofsky**

Lefkofsky Family Foundation

Anthony Miller*

Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Steve Pemberton


Anna Piepmeyer

Director, Community Impact, Aon

Cardelle Spangler*

Chair, AUSL
Chicago Managing Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP

Greg Wasson*

President and Co-Founder, Wasson Enterprise

* Members of the executive committee
** Honorary Director
*** Emeritus

Our core values






AUSL’s History

In 2001, Martin (Mike) Koldyke worked with Arne Duncan and Dr. Donald Feinstein to develop the Chicago Teacher Residency, an innovative model of teacher training

This program provided Chicago Public School with high-quality teachers prepared to succeed within the demanding conditions of under-invested schools. In 2006, to better serve the needs of Chicago’s students, AUSL expanded its operations to include school management. CPS selected AUSL to implement a revolutionary model of whole school transformation at Sherman Elementary located in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s southside. Today, Sherman is a Level 1 school, on the district’s School Quality Rating Performance score, and they’re not alone. AUSL now manages schools on the city’s south and west sides.

About AUSL

Our Partners


Event Calendar

About the CTR


Tuition & Financial Aid

Requirements & Eligibility

Degree Programs

Teacher’s Stories




Referral program

About LiberatED Way

Who We Are

What We Do

Who We Work With




Progress Reports