For the past two and a half years, Nakia Nicholson—M.B.A., has worked diligently to create a center of academic excellence for the urban community of students at Fairmont Heights High School. During this journey, she successfully addressed the cultural and expectation issues that plagued her school through strategic business savvy, adaptive leadership, and data-driven instruction. Under her leadership, first time taker’s overall scores on the High School Assessments (HSA) have improved tremendously. In two years, the school rebounded academically from being the rated last out of twenty-two high schools to contending in the top three for academic gains. Mrs. Nicholson, also a New Leader for New Schools principal, came to Fairmont Heights High School at a time when many referred to the school as “failing” because of low student performance. Since her arrival, the school has made tremendous gains through her tireless advocacy for students in receiving a quality education.