Over the 2010–11 school year, new principal Antonio Burt began to turn around the culture at Lester, a K-8 school in Binghampton, based in large part on his training with New Leaders for New Schools.
Mr. Burt immediately set out to improve the physical condition of the hallways, which in prior years had been plagued by trash, pests and foul odors. A no-tolerance policy for litter or disrespect of school property immediately went into effect, with fast results that surprised even some members of the teaching staff. He created an environment of quiet and order, requiring students to line up by gender in hallways and speak in low voices. His presence on school grounds from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the first several months of the year inspired teachers, administrators, and even janitors to start putting in the extra time it needed to put the school back on track.