What if we acted on the oft quoted notion that “leadership is everything” by creating a world-class leadership development program whose singular purpose is to identify, develop, and support the next generation of instructionally focused school systems leaders at the cabinet-level?
The School Systems Leaders Fellowship brings together leaders from traditional public school districts, charter management organizations, and state education agencies for a year-long fellowship that includes placement in a senior systems-level role, rigorous cohort-based learning, executive coaching, and ongoing career support. Upon completion of the Fellowship these leaders join a growing, national network of innovative, results-oriented, equity-focused systems level leaders who work together to share ideas and resources, identify talent, and accelerate the rate of growth for students in their systems.
Too often successful school leaders – particularly people of color and women – are not identified and groomed to take on senior systems-level roles. Too often rising leaders in school systems are not provided the opportunity to learn new skills and content and to grow their craft.
The Fellowship believes that leadership is a set of knowledge, skills, and practices that can be taught, developed and coached. The Fellowship identifies the highest potential leaders – both those who are working in schools and those who are already working in systems – and provide them with a year-long, residency-based fellowship that develops the instructional, innovation, managerial, strategic, and political skills they need to be transformational cabinet-level leaders.
There is a pressing need to diversify systems leadership across the country with only ~6% of superintendents identifying as a person of color and ~25% as female. To date, 56% of fellows identify as a person of color and 69% as female. The focus on diversity begins by recruiting a diverse applicant pool and then working to ensure the selection process is equitable for all candidates regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity.
Beyond the diversity of the fellows, a core strand of the curriculum is Race, Equity, and Equity Leadership. The Fellowship focuses on these key questions: What is equity leadership and what does embodying that kind of leadership look like? How do senior leaders develop and implement an equity agenda that make an immediate difference for students? Continuing to improve this strand has been a priority every year of the Fellowship.
SSLF is deeply committed to developing and supporting the next generation of transformational school systems leaders. Throughout the yearlong, residency-based, cohort program, the Fellowship prepares career educators to serve as instructionally focused cabinet-level leaders within three years of completing the Fellowship.
To learn more:
Visit the SSLF website.
Meet the SSLF team.