KIPP Leadership Design Fellowship

A six-month program, designed for administrators of public school districts, charter school systems, and leadership training organizations, that provides intensive, experiential, and collaborative training on KIPP’s school leader development model.

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Program Objectives

Intensive Leadership Development

Experience KIPP programs in action through in-person summits that coincide with national and/or regional KIPP events including a principal selection event and formal leader PD.

Experiential Learning

Learn directly from KIPP instructors in KLDF sessions that demonstrate the high-quality, engaging, adult learning we incorporate into all KIPP leader training programs.

Collaborative Community

Be part of an expanded network of reform-minded leaders through cohort-based learning models that encourage lasting relationships among Fellows.

Program Details

Over the course of three summit experiences, participants will get an in-depth look at KIPP’s principal selection, leadership development, and leadership support model. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of other innovative school leadership models around the country through consultancies and join a cohort of reform-minded education leader through three interactive summits held over a multi-day period.

Summit I: Defining Excellence in Leadership

January 15-17, 2020 in Atlanta, GA (Travel Day on Tuesday, January 14, 2020)

Participants will explore KIPP’s theory of leadership development, leadership competencies, and school leader progression. Participants will join in a school visit experience, while also digging into content such as leading through change.

Summit II: Selecting Excellence in Leadership

March 30th – April 1st, 2020 in Houston, TX (Travel Day on Sunday, March 29th, 2020)

Participants will explore effective practices in creating a leadership pipeline and recruiting talented candidates. Sessions will focus on designing a selection process that reflects organizational values and aligned leadership competencies. Participants will also observe a portion of a regional principal selection event.

Summit III: Developing Excellence in Leadership

June 24-26, 2020 in Chicago, IL (Travel Day on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020)

Participants will explore effective practices in adult learning and formal programming components including residency experiences. Participants will also join in a portion of KSLP Summer Institute to experience leader development first-hand.

All summits will involve training on Leading for Racial Equity and will also provide time for each participant to engage in an individualized consultancy with a small group of peers.


All content-related costs (tuition, materials, meals during summits) will be fully paid for by the KIPP Foundation. The KIPP Foundation will also pay for three nights of hotel and round-trip flights (up to $400) per participant, per summit. Any additional travel costs must be covered by participants.

How to Apply

Acceptance into the fellowship is a highly-competitive rolling application process. We seek two* candidates from each organization to jointly apply and commit to actively engaging in the entire fellowship experience.

We encourage applicants to apply early in order to get your seats secured in the program. The application window will open officially on August 19th. The last day we will accept letters of interest is October 18th. All applications must be submitted by November 15th. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance on a rolling basis but will be informed no later than November 22nd.

Step 1: Submit Letter of Interest (August 19th – October 18th, 2019)

Submit a letter of interest to Letters of interest will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please include in the letter:

  • An explanation of the organization and students served
  • An explanation of the two candidates’ ability to influence the organization’s current principal hiring and leadership development practices
  • Why the two candidates and the organization are interested in participating in this fellowship
  • The commitment of the two candidates, with support from the organization, to travel and participate in all aspects of the program, especially through attending all three summits

Step 2: Participate in a Phone Interview (August 26th – November 1st, 2019)

Select candidates will be invited to interview with the KLDF selection team to share additional context about their fit for the fellowship.

Step 3: Submit Application (September 3rd – November 15th, 2019)

Based on the phone interviews, a limited number of candidates will be invited to formally apply to the KIPP Leadership Design Fellowship. The formal application will include letter of support from the organization superintendent or CEO, candidate resumes, and a self-reflection on the organization’s practices and individuals’ roles in the organization.

Applications are due by November 15, 2019.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance no later than November 22, 2019. Our goal is to have organizations know about their acceptance a month after submitting their letter of interest.

*There may be instances where we will consider accepting three candidates based on the size of the applying organization and the number of overall applications.

Ideal Candidates

KIPP is looking for reform-minded public school districts, charter management organizations (CMOs), and school leadership training organizations that want to improve the selection and development of their leaders. Two representatives from the organization should have the:

  • Belief that closing the achievement gap is possible through transformative leadership
  • Desire and capacity to impact and influence their organization’s current principal hiring practices and leadership development programs and to share progress on key initiatives
  • Willingness and ability to share effective practices from their organization
  • Desire to learn about how to infuse racial equity into school culture and leadership development
  • Commitment and organizational support to attend and actively participate in all three summits (including pre-work, post-work and required travel days)

Need More Information?

Reflections from Fellows

Over 315 leaders from 110+ organizations (districts, CMOs, and talent organizations) serving 11.8 million children have participated in KLDF to-date. 97% of KDLF participants said their experience was “Extremely Valuable” and 100% said they “would recommend the program to others.”

“This is an extraordinary professional development experience and systems should send leaders with decision-making authority to enhance their leadership development programs.”
– Paul Miller, Los Angeles Unified School District

“You took a very traditional retired superintendent and opened his eyes to KIPP and a new way to do things that work.”
– Mark Mitchell, Winthrop University

“Developing highly effective leaders is such an important strategy in impacting student success. This program really allowed us to explore leadership and what it means. The work done here will definitely impact my work ahead. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a fellow.”
– Kimiko Cartwright, Austin Independent School District

KIPP Leadership Design Participants

School Districts

  • Achievement School District
  • Alum Rock School District
  • Ascension Parish
  • Atlanta Public Schools
  • Austin Independent School District
  • Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Boston Public Schools
  • Camden City School District
  • Charleston County School District
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Columbus City Schools
  • Dallas ISD
  • Deming Public Schools
  • Denver Public Schools
  • District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Duval County Public Schools
  • El Paso Independent School District
  • Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD)
  • Fulton County Public Schools
  • Hartford Public Schools
  • Houston Independent School District
  • Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools
  • Memphis City Schools
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
  • Minneapolis Public Schools
  • New Haven Public Schools
  • New York City Department of Education, Office of Leadership
  • Newark Public Schools
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools
  • Orange County Public School
  • Reynoldsburg City Schools
  • Saint Louis Public School District
  • Salem Public Schools
  • San Antonio Independent School District
  • San Francisco Unified School District
  • School District of Philadelphia
  • Spring Branch Independent School District
  • Tulsa Public Schools
  • West Contra Costa Unified School District

State Departments of Education

  • Delaware Department of Education
  • Florida Department of Education
  • Hawaii Department of Education
  • New Jersey Department of Education

Leadership Training and Education Organizations

  • Aptus Chile
  • Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL)
  • Arkansas Leadership Academy
  • Arkansas Public School Resource Center
  • Chicago Leadership Collaborative
  • Expeditionary Learning
  • Future Leaders Incubator
  • Get Smart Schools
  • Indiana University, Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs and School of Education
  • Innovative Schools: The Center for School Innovation (Delaware)
  • Leading Educators
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Loyola University
  • Lynch Leadership Academy, Boston College
  • Marian University: Academy for Teaching & Learning Leadership
  • Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation
  • National Association of Charter School Authorities (NACSA)
  • New Leaders for Chicago
  • New Schools for Baton Rouge
  • New Schools for Phoenix
  • ORG Bahamas Foundation
  • Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation
  • Reframe Labs
  • REEP – Rice University Education Entrepreneurship Program
  • Roanoke River Valley Education Consortium (RRVEC)
  • School Leaders Network
  • Schools That Can Milwaukee
  • South Carolina Education Leadership and Policy Institute
  • Teach for America
  • Teach for America Detroit
  • Teaching Trust
  • Tennessee Charter School Incubator
  • The Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame
  • The Mind Trust
  • The New Teacher Project
  • Winthrop University

Charter Management Organizations

  • Achievement First
  • Achievement Prep
  • Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
  • Alpha Public Schools
  • Arizona Charter Schools Association
  • Ascend Public Charter Schools
  • Aspire Public Schools
  • Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy
  • Breakthrough Charter Schools
  • Brilla Schools Network
  • Collegiate Academies
  • Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School
  • Education for Change Public Schools
  • Harmony Public Schools
  • IDEA Public Schools
  • Independence Mission Schools
  • Ivy Preparatory Academies
  • Leadership Public Schools
  • LEARN Charter School Network
  • Lighthouse Academies
  • Mastery Charter Schools
  • NACA-Inspired Schools Network
  • Neighborhood Charter Schools
  • Noble Network of Charter Schools
  • Para Los Niños
  • Rocketship Education
  • Scholar Academies
  • Uncommon Schools
  • UP Education Network
  • Uplift Education
  • Voices College-Bound Language Academies