Principal Fellowship
I CAN SCHOOLS - Cleveland, OH

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In 2014 I CAN SCHOOLS will inaugurate a fellowship program designed to challenge and strengthen exceptional, early career principals. The goal is to develop a strong cohort of leaders who are ready for the challenges of opening charter schools in the inner-city neighborhoods of Chicago for the 2015 – 2016 school year.

Fellowship Overview

The 15 month paid fellowship features daily, on-site shadowing of highly-successful principals in the I CAN SCHOOLS network based in Cleveland, Ohio. In real-time, fellows will observe the routine/non-routine interactions of a principal. Executive coaching sessions will routinely occur each month to solidify the learning of the on-site shadowing; this will include, bi-monthly face-time meetings and phone conferences in which the fellow will discuss relationships, curriculum and instruction and the culture of their school.

Fellows will be required to take a 25 week, intensive evening course entitled I CAN LEAD lead by executive management team members and a key community constituents. This course is designed to teach the intricacies of being a highly effective leader. It will allow the fellow to observe both the art and science of being a principal. The program will also require fellows to travel to high performing charter schools across the country, studying best practices and meeting with leadership teams, to deepen the skill set of the soon-to-be leader.

Candidates who consider applying to the fellowship should be able to articulate their passion for diversity, evidence strong leadership, show commitment to leadership development, and a relentless focus on instructional / behavioral improvement and equity. Candidates should be early-career, principals or master teachers who are:

  • Aspiring leaders, with demonstrated management competence; able to build a team of leaders
  • Curious and reflective learners; innovative in their approaches toward leading
  • Value-centered and focused on social justice / equity for all learners
  • Able to serve as coach, or mentor
  • Interested in shaping the future design of the Principal Fellows Program

Out of state fellows will be required to temporarily relocate to Cleveland, Ohio for the duration of the program. The fellowship program begins January 2014. Relocation stipends will be given to all out-of-state fellows.

Fellowship Focus

Fellows work individually and together to:

  • Apply instructional and leadership theory to the challenges of daily practice.
  • Closely assess the linkage of site decisions to student achievement.
  • Strengthen school culture.
  • Achieve specific improvement in developing strong leader lenses


The fellowship program will offer guest presentations (local and national guests), numerous relevant readings (journals/books), case studies, assigned homework, and focused time for problem-solving centered on site-specific challenges. Priority issues are defined by the fellows to meet their specific needs. Major themes include:

  • The manager/leader challenge, including management of decision-making, resources, instruction and innovation.
  • Entrepreneurial vision and action in the context of the education system.
  • Instructional leadership and coaching to raise achievement for all students.
  • Beyond the rhetoric: social justice and equity issues; strategies for results.
  • Building strong teacher leadership for continuous school improvement
  • Aligning resources to mission.
  • Personal vision, balance, and growth.

Program Outcomes

Successful fellows will receive an excellent rating from their mentoring principal. This will include an in-depth evaluation in the following areas: relationships, curriculum / instruction, culture and customer service. All fellows will be required to obtain a letter of endorsement and recommendation from at least 2 staff on the I CAN SCHOOLS management team. These letters will show successful leadership execution and the foreseen ability to become the founding principal of an I CAN SCHOOL. Successful fellows will complete the I CAN LEAD course with an “A” rating from the instructors.

To apply visit and go to “Careers,” scroll to “Principal Fellowship.”

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