Susan DeNicola

Principal, Obama Magnet University School

About 8 years ago, Susan DeNicola took on the incredible task of leading Strong School, an overflow space full of hundreds of Kindergarten and 1st graders coming to the building from nearly every neighborhood in New Haven. The building was sparse — no playground, a dilapidated library, and bare walls. With thoughtful leadership, kindness and a bright spark, Susan transformed the building into a warm and beautiful place of learning. 

Susan has embraced partnership, creating connections with community organizations and bringing deeply valuable resources to the school, supporting both academic and social-emotional supports for students facing deep poverty and adversity. Quickly, the strength of her leadership was realized and Strong School became an official K-4 school. 

Just this past January, her fight to give her students everything they deserve became a reality — moving into a new space in partnership with SCSU, under the new name “Obama Magnet University School”. 

Susan has quite literally changed the game for thousands of students throughout New Haven who have been lucky enough to walk through her doors!