Transformative Education Begins with You
The Fisher Fellowship is a highly-selective, one-year, cohort-based leadership program that is designed to provide in-depth support and insight into the processes and best practices involved in school leadership.
The Fisher Fellowship takes highly-effective leaders and prepares them to open a new KIPP school.
Our program utilizes evidenced-based practices rooted in the KIPP Leading for Learning Actions and in the KIPP Leadership Framework and Competencies that will prepare fellows to open the doors to a new KIPP school.
After one year, fellows will be able to set ambitious goals and to relentlessly plan and prioritize them. They will learn how to hire and retain the best of the best and to build expertise in effective instructional design and academic standards. Fellows will also be able to demonstrate an understanding of self as a leader, impact on others, and overall leadership philosophy.
Unique to the Fisher Fellowship
Fisher Fellows complete four to five Residences and a School Launch Plan that will challenge, empower, and equip them to found, lead, and grow a new high-performing KIPP school.
The fellowship includes up to four residencies at KIPP schools outside the fellow’s region. Each three-day residency provides fellows with an opportunity to gain insight into the instructional, operational, and performance management practices of successful schools and school leaders. Additionally, fellows will take part in up to five week-long school and operational residencies in his/her own region.
School Launch Plan
Creation of a comprehensive plan that guides the founding and growth of the fellow’s new school.
Meet our 2020-21 Fisher Fellows
Michael CarterFounding KIPP OKC Elementary School
Michael is eager to begin his journey as founder of KIPP OKC’s first elementary school. Michael currently serves as the principal at Greenwood Leadership Academy in Tulsa, OK.
Michael is rejoining the KIPP family after leading a national social justice organization and serving as a 5th, 6th, and 8th grade reading teacher and grade level chair at KIPP Reach in Oklahoma City. It was during Michael’s time as a reading teacher at KIPP Reach where Michael began to understand the art of teaching and developed a consciousness that serving the whole child requires partnership and service to that child’s community.
His experiences at KIPP Reach afforded him opportunities to lead in the non-profit sector as a facilitator and community organizer, and to lead a school created by North Tulsans to revitalize Tulsa’s historic Black Wall Street. Each of his experiences have allowed him to come full circle; returning home to KIPP OKC.
Michael received his B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and an M.A.T from Smith College. When Michael is not at school, Michael may be found at the gym or at a piano playing or writing music.
Sean DuncanPartner Founder- Excellent Schools New Mexico
In August 2022, Sean will excitedly open the doors to a KIPP inspired, diverse by design, K-8 school in Santa Fe, NM. Prior to moving to Santa Fe and working as a district instructional coach, Sean was the K-2 ELA Achievement Manager for KIPP New Orleans Schools. Sean has been a member of two different KIPP founding teams – KIPP Believe in 2006, and KIPP East Community Primary in 2014, both of which helped form the core of who he is as an educator and what he believes is possible for students.
Sean began his teaching career as a Teach for America corps member in New Orleans public schools in 2004. Following hurricane Katrina, Sean began his journey with KIPP, and has spent time as a special education teacher, reading teacher, school psychologist, and assistant principal. In 2008, Sean participated in the Leadership Team cohort of the KIPP School Leadership Program. Sean graduated from Loyola University Maryland, holds an M.Ed in Administration & Supervision from National Louis University, as well as a Specialist in School Psychology from Nicholls State University.
Sean enjoys heart rate-based interval training and living his best life with his wife Kasey, their two kids, Lupita and Diego, and their dog, Pickle.
“I am committed to founding a school that keeps its promise to students and families, by providing equitable learning experiences, opportunities, and outcomes.”
Sean HealyFounding KIPP New Jersey Middle School
Sean Healy will be a Fisher Fellow working in Newark, NJ and couldn’t be more excited! Sean is currently the Assistant Principal at Baker College Prep, a high school in South Chicago. Prior to becoming Assistant Principal, Sean served as the Dean of Students, 9th Grade Team Lead, Founding 9th Grade Literature Instructor, and completed the Noble Fellowship.
Sean was named South Chicago Teacher of the Year and received Baker’s Outstanding Educator award. Sean also teaches a Socratic based Literature course to detainees in the Cook County Jail. Before working in Chicago, Sean was a 2011 Teach For America Corps member in Houston, Texas, teaching 6-8th English Language Arts in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Houston’s 3rd Ward.
Sean attended the Pennsylvania State University where he studied Political Science and Sociology. Sean enjoys reading, writing, live music, yoga, and gardening; Sean dreams of one day being funny enough to win the New Yorker caption contest.
Sharae Lewis Griffith
Sharae Lewis GriffithFounding KIPP New Jersey Middle School
In the 21-22 school year, Sharae will be founding KIPP NJ’s fifth middle school in Newark, NJ. Sharae currently serves as a Principal in Residence at KIPP BOLD Academy; managing ELA instruction across the school. She has been with the KIPP BOLD family in Newark, NJ since 2015, starting as a founding teacher.
Sharae started her career in her hometown, Brooklyn, NY as a third grade teacher at Excellence Boys Charter School. She realized her passion for educational equity while enrolled in the Washington Semester Program at American University and continues to use that passion as her motivation in this work.
Sharae received her B.A. in politics and government with a minor in sociology from the University of Hartford. She also holds an M.A. in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education.
Sharae welcomed her first child in November 2019, and spends most of her free time obsessing over him. She also loves spending time with her husband Ira, embracing her title as a “foodie”, taking financial literacy courses and traveling.
Leslie LocksFounding KIPP Metro Atlanta Elementary School
In the 2021-2022 school year, Leslie will be the Founding Principal of KIPP South Fulton Primary in Atlanta, Georgia. Leslie is excited to create a harmonious and joyful school. She most recently served as an Assistant Principal at KIPP STRIVE Primary School in Atlanta, Georgia and is looking forward to participating in the Fisher Fellowship in the upcoming school year.
Leslie has served in many different roles since joining the KIPP family in 2013 which includes teaching Kindergarten, Art, as well as serving as a Grade Level Chair and an Interventionist. Her leadership roles include serving as an instructional coach, a mentor teacher for the regional Teacher Fellow program, and as an Assistant Principal for the past three years.
As an Assistant Principal, Leslie’s role included coaching and developing teachers, fostering a jubilant and rigorous learning environment, leading quarterly regional professional development and serving as the school’s Lead Test Coordinator.
Leslie graduated in 2007 with her Bachelor of Science degree from Montclair State University in New Jersey and earned her Master’s degree in Childhood Education at Grand Canyon University in 2010. In her spare time, Leslie enjoys spending time with her twin boys, drawing, and the outdoors.
Katie PenkalaFounding KIPP Jacksonville High School
Katie is currently serving in her eighth year as a member of the KIPP Jacksonville team and is beyond excited to be opening the first KIPP Jacksonville high school.
Prior to joining KIPP, Katie served as a Teach For America corps member in Chicago. She spent two years teaching Algebra 1 and Geometry in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park. Katie joined the KIPP Jacksonville team in 2012 as the 7th grade math teacher and grade level chair at KIPP Impact. She served four years as Assistant School Leader where she coached math, science, and humanities teachers, lead math content teams, coordinated state testing, and coached scholar bowl.
Katie attended the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, where she earned a B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Education, as well as a M.S. in Mathematics.
Katie is excited to create the high school in Jacksonville that allows KIPPsters to pursue the path they choose and help students achieve their dreams and lead fulfilling lives. Outside of KIPP, Katie enjoys running, Crossfit, southern breakfast foods, going to the beach, and walking her corgi Amy.
Josh SwartzlanderFounding KIPP Kansas City High School
Josh Swartzlander will open the first KIPP Kansas City high school, and he can’t wait to dig in with this first class of 9th graders and their families!
Josh is currently in his second year as Assistant Principal at KIPP Endeavor Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. Josh leads student culture, while also serving as a math instructional coach. Josh just wrapped up his tenth year at KIPP Kansas City.
Before becoming an Assistant Principal, Josh worked in the region’s KIPP Through College department, supporting 8th grade families with the transition into high school, supporting 9th and 10th grade former KIPP students across the city, and spearheading fundraising initiatives to create scholarships for KIPP alumni.
Josh began at KIPP as a 7th and 8th grade math teacher, and he is still teaching math right now — on video conference calls with his nieces, Scout and Evy, in Nebraska.
Josh received his B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008 and his M.A.T. in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2010. He enjoys reading, running, biking, golfing, and playing basketball with his daughter, Alera, and grandson, Legacy.
Kim TruongFounding KIPP Northern California Middle School
Kimanh Truong-Munoz is a KIPP Public Schools Northern California Fisher Fellow and will open the first KIPP Stockton middle school in 2021-22. She was born and raised in Chicago and is the proud daughter of Vietnamese refugees. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a First Wave hip-hop scholarship recipient and then served as a Teach for America corps member in San Antonio, Texas where she taught middle school ELA/SS and received the San Antonio Independent School District’s Rising Star Teacher Award.
Since moving to Sacramento in 2013, she’s held a variety of roles in both the non-profit and K-12 education spaces as a high school English teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal, and consultant. She graduated from the University of the Pacific’s Organizational Learning and Effectiveness program with a focus on Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Most recently, she served as Site Director of SMASH UC Davis, a college-prep program committed to helping students of color interested in pursuing careers in STEM. She’s excited about the chance to expand educational opportunities for young people in the Central Valley and is looking forward to the learning, fun, and growth on the journey ahead!
(When not at work with young people, she can be found reading young adult novels, listening to Chance the Rapper, or trying to recreate her Mom’s famous Vietnamese recipes.)
Fisher Fellowship Applicant FAQs
Fisher Fellows work as employees of a specific KIPP region during their fellowship year.
Attendance is a mandatory and crucial part of the Fisher Fellowship, and all Fisher Fellows are required to attend the full session.
During Summer Institute, Fisher Fellows live and work together in dormitory-style housing. Housing and meals are paid for by the KIPP Foundation.
Because of the demanding schedule of Summer Institute and the need to collaborate with other participants and faculty, all Fisher Fellows are required to live in the housing provided for the duration of Summer Institute.
The ability to open a school is based on a variety of factors, which include the region’s ability to find a facility, secure a charter, and acquire necessary funding to open your school.
Given this, there is no guarantee for Fisher Fellows that they will open schools once they have completed the fellowship.
The KIPP Foundation provides a variety of supports to school leaders once they open their school. School leaders can reach out to KIPP Foundation staff for support in operations (legal, financial, facility, accounting, public relations, and marketing); instructional leadership; professional development retreats for teachers and office staff; and professional development opportunities.
In addition, our regional structure provides schools with leadership from regional Executive Directors. Each region shares a school support center, which provides joint administrative, operational, and academic resources across the region. Most importantly, the region shares a strategic plan for consistent execution in identifying and cultivating school leaders, maintaining high levels of quality and performance, promoting the sustainability of individual schools, and assessing future growth possibilities.