KIPP Leadership Design Fellowship

An eight-month program, designed for senior-level administrators of public school districts, charter school systems, and leadership training organizations, that provides intensive, experiential, and collaborative training on KIPP’s approach to leadership development.

Program Objectives

Centering Racial Equity in Leadership


Participate in a cohort experience that dives into KIPP’s approach to leadership development. While interacting with the technical content, participants will also be asked to examine their own identities to determine personal shifts they need to make that will support our collective work towards racial justice.

Design Thinking

Learn how to improve your design process through a lens of equity to generate leadership development solutions that are impactful, equitable, and inclusive. These solutions will ensure that we are providing the highest-quality outcomes for all students.

Collaborative Community

Be part of a diverse professional community of leaders from around the country with whom to collaborate beyond this fellowship experience.

Program Details

Over the course of three virtual learning experiences and four design days, participants will get an in-depth look at KIPP’s leadership development approach and have a chance to work on applying their learning through our design days. Fellows will participate in courses to build their own capacity as leaders for racial equity. They will also learn how to design leadership development systems that are impactful, equitable, and inclusive. Participants will join a cohort of reform-minded education leaders and have the opportunity to apply their learning in smaller learning teams.

Summit I: Building Equitable and Excellent Internal Pipelines

January 2022 (3 days 11-4 ET virtual)

Participants will explore effective practices in creating a leadership pipeline. Sessions will focus on building internal pipelines that are equitable and inclusive.

Summit II: Selecting for Equity and Excellence in Leadership

March 2022 (3 days 11-4 ET virtual)

Participants will explore how KIPP supports our regions in equitable hiring practices. Sessions will focus on designing a selection process that reflects equity, organizational values, and aligned leadership competencies.

Summit III: Developing for Equity and Excellence in Leadership

May 2022 (2 days if in person or 3 days if virtual) * In-person programming decisions to be based on prevailing public health recommendations for COVID-19.

Participants will explore KIPP’s approach to leadership coaching which focuses on the adaptive skills needed to be a successful leader.

All summits will involve training on Leading for Racial Equity.

Design Days: Ongoing Application

December 2021, February, April, and June, 2022 (1 day 11-4 ET virtual)

In between summits, participants will engage in Equity Meets Design content together to further the application of their problems of practice. They will also meet with their small groups to continue working on the application of their learning.


All content-related costs (tuition and materials) will be fully paid for by the KIPP Foundation. For any in-person events* during the Fellowship, the KIPP Foundation will also pay for 2 nights of hotel and round trip flights (up to $400) per participant, per summit. Any additional travel costs must be covered by participants.

* In-person programming decisions and policies to be based on prevailing public health recommendations for COVID-19.

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.

The application window will open officially on September 1st. The last day we will accept letters of interest is October 8. All applicants will be notified if they are moving to the interview round by October 12. Applications must be submitted by November 12. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance on a rolling basis but will be informed no later than November 19.

Step 1: Identify a partner from your organization to apply with. Check out the “Ideal Candidates” for more information about what to look for in a partner.

Step 2: Submit Letter of Interest (September 1–October 8, 2021)

Send 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 and four design days

Step 3: Participate in a Phone Interview (September 6–October 29, 2021)

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

Step 4: Application (September 13 – November 12, 2021)

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 a letter of support from the organization superintendent or CEO and a self-reflection on the organization’s practices and individuals’ roles in the organization. Applications are due by November 12.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance no later than November 19. Our goal is to have organizations know about their acceptance a month after submitting their letter of interest.

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:

  • Desire to learn about how to infuse racial equity into organizational culture and leadership development
  • Belief that closing the achievement gap is possible through transformative leadership
  • Desire and capacity to make decisions for their organization’s current leadership development strategy and resource allocation
  • Willingness and ability to share effective practices from their organization
  • Commitment and organizational support to attend and actively participate in all three summits and design days (including pre-work, post-work, implementation of their learnings, 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.”

“The thoughtfully developed programming as a whole was transformative. The KLDF team created a space where people could be their full and authentic selves. I’ve never participated in a professional workspace that embraced diversity in this manner. I feel blessed to have had this experience.” 

“This has been a pivotal experience in my own development as an anti-racist. I appreciate all the content and framing of our problem of practice. I left with tools and knowledge to positively impact my organization and the kids we serve.” 

“Thank you for the creating such a thoughtful experience amidst a global pandemic. It was such an impactful experience. Each summit was a breath of fresh air for me to pause, reflect, and get my own learning on in ways I would not have been able to in my current work. It was invigorating— and concrete, real, and transformational learning that invigorated my work and my organization as a result. Thank you for centering equity in the design of KLDF!”

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
  • Beaumont ISD
  • Boston Public Schools
  • Caldwell County Schools
  • Camden City School District
  • Charleston County School District
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Collegiate Academies
  • 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
  • Memphis City Schools
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
  • Miami-Dade County 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 Schools
  • Prince George’s County Public Schools
  • Reynoldsburg City Schools
  • Saint Louis Public School District
  • Salem Public Schools
  • San Antonio ISD
  • San Francisco Unified School District
  • San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District
  • School District of Philadelphia
  • Selma City Schools
  • Spring Branch Independent School District
  • Stockton Unified 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/Leadership Institute
  • New Jersey Department of Education
  • Texas Education Agency

Leadership Training and Education Organizations

  • Achievement Network
  • Alliance To Reform Education Leadership (AREL)
  • Aptus Chile
  • Arkansas Leadership Academy
  • Big Shoulders Fund
  • Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy
  • Chicago Leadership Collaborative
  • Expeditionary Learning
  • Georgia Charter Schools Association
  • Goodrich Foundation
  • Indiana University, Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs and School of Education
  • Innovative Schools: The Center for School Innovation
  • Instruction Partners
  • Leading Educators
  • Lighthouse Academies
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Loyola University
  • Lynch Leadership Academy, Boston College
  • Marian University: Academy for Teaching & Learning Leadership
  • National Association of Charter School Athorities (NACSA)
  • New Leaders for Chicago
  • New Schools for Baton Rouge
  • New Schools For Phoenix
  • Organization for Responsible Governance Bahamas Foundation
  • Phi Delta Kappa
  • Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders
  • Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation
  • REEP – Rice University Education Entrepreneurship Program
  • 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 Chicago Public Education Fund
  • The Mind Trust
  • The New Teacher Project (TNTP)
  • Winthrop University

Charter Management Organizations

  • Achievement First
  • Achievement Prep
  • Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
  • Alpha Public Schools
  • Arizona Charter Schools Association
  • Arkansas Public School Resource Center
  • Ascend Public Charter Schools
  • Aspire Public Schools
  • Belmont Charter Network
  • Breakthrough Charter Schools
  • Brick Education Network
  • Brilla Schools Network
  • Caliber Schools
  • Columbus City Schools
  • Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School
  • DSST Public Schools
  • East Harlem Scholar Academies
  • Education for Change Public Schools
  • Future Leaders Incubator
  • Get Smart Schools
  • Harmony Public Schools
  • IDEA Public Schools
  • Independence Mission Schools
  • Ivy Preparatory Academies
  • Leadership Public Schools
  • Learn Charter School Network
  • Mastery Charter Schools
  • NACA-Inspired Schools Network
  • Neighborhood Charter Schools
  • Noble Network of Charter Schools
  • Para Los Niños
  • Public Preparatory Network
  • Reframe Labs
  • RePublic Schools
  • Roanoke River Valley Education Consortium (RRVEC)
  • Rocketship Public Schools
  • Scholar Academies
  • Strive Prep
  • Uncommon Schools
  • UP Education Network
  • Uplift Education
  • Voices College-Bound Language Academies