Teachers, School Leaders Named in Two Competitive Fellowships to Strengthen Indiana Schools and Students
Inaugural Class of Education Leadership Fellows, New Class of Teaching Fellows Recognized at Statehouse
Governor Mike Pence has recognized the selection of Fellows in two programs designed to bring new skills and leadership to some of Indiana’s highest-need schools — and to make the state’s best schools more internationally competitive.
The first-ever class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows in Education Leadership and the 2014 class of Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows have been named by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which administers both programs. The class includes seven Fellows who will attend Valparaiso University. Both Fellowships are designed not only to recruit and prepare talented educators, but also to change the way they are prepared.
“Attracting talent in science, technology, engineering and math to the teaching field will help our students better understand and be successful in these fields, which are so important our state’s future success,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Additionally, the new MBA program can prepare our future school administrators with more tools for making sound business and operational decisions. Advanced educational development for our teachers is an investment that will pay dividends to Hoosier students.”
Teaching Fellows to Create New Opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
The 45 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows for 2014 are recent graduates and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math — the STEM fields. The highly competitive Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship prepares candidates specifically to teach in the state’s high-need urban and rural secondary schools. This year’s class is the sixth named since the program began in 2009, and the first class to receive funding from the state of Indiana as part of the $9.7 million STEM grant program approved by the General Assembly in 2013.
Each Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow receives $30,000 to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program based on a year-long classroom experience. In return, Fellows commit to teach for three years in the urban and rural Indiana schools that most need strong STEM teachers. Throughout the three-year commitment, Fellows receive ongoing support and mentoring.
Nearly 300 WW Teaching Fellows have been named in Indiana to date. The Woodrow Wilson Foundation estimates that they teach 30,000 students each year, helping Indiana’s young people prepare to contribute and thrive in a knowledge-based, global, digital economy and workforce. Students in high-need schools are significantly less likely to have access to strong STEM teachers.
“Study after study has shown that the single most important in-school factor in student achievement is access to excellent classroom teachers,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “These Fellows are bringing real science and math expertise to the kids who most need them. They’re going to change tens of thousands of lives.”
The Teaching Fellows will attend Ball State University, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue University, and the University of Indianapolis. In addition, in 2014, Valparaiso University has joined the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows program and will welcome its first class of Fellows. The five institutions have made significant changes in their teacher preparation programs for these Fellows, partnering with local school districts where Fellows learn to teach in real classrooms from the beginning of their master’s work, just as physicians learn in teaching hospitals.
Statewide, 16 school districts partner with the Fellows’ institutions, including Anderson, Fort Wayne, Decatur, Gary, Indianapolis, Lawrence Township, Perry Township, Warren Township, Michigan City, Muncie, Portage, East Chicago, Washington Township, and Wayne Township, as well as the Thea Bowman Leadership Academy and the Purdue University Rural Schools Network.
Since its launch in Indiana in 2007, the Teaching Fellowship has been generously funded with over $15 million in grants from Lilly Endowment Inc., as well as supplemental state support. The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship has subsequently been established in four other states — Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, and Georgia.
New WW MBA Fellows in Education Leadership to Transform Schools
This year Indiana is also pioneering a new Woodrow Wilson program, the WW MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership. Intended for aspiring school principals, charter leaders, and district leaders, the program offers education professionals a new pathway to leadership — an MBA program developed collaboratively by a business school and an education school.
Fifteen Fellows, all seasoned educators, were nominated by their schools and districts, then chosen in a selective screening and interview process administered by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
Each Fellow receives a $50,000 stipend and agrees, upon completion of the program, to serve in a leadership role in an Indiana school, charter organization, or district for at least three years, with Foundation-supported coaching. The WW MBA Fellows begin their 13-month program in summer 2014, focusing not only on skills but also on broader leadership qualities, vision, and character. They will be prepared to serve as school leaders by fall 2015.
In Indiana, the University of Indianapolis is the host site for the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership. The university is partnering with area districts and charter schools to create field-based projects and coaching opportunities for the new Fellows, establishing a leadership pipeline for those districts.
“There are twin gaps in American education,” Levine said. “Low-performing schools fall too far below the nation’s benchmarks for student achievement. Meanwhile, high-performing schools still rank well under their international peers. Effective school leaders need new ways to tackle the increasingly complex challenges they face, and new models and perspectives to draw upon.”
Wisconsin joins Indiana as one of the first two states to launch the WW MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership. The Foundation has been approached by a private funding entity about the possibility of taking the MBA statewide in Indiana, and three other states are currently negotiating to begin the program.
About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation of Princeton, New Jersey (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops leaders to meet the nation’s most critical challenges. In 1945, the Foundation was created to meet the challenge of preparing a new generation of college professors. Today Woodrow Wilson offers a suite of fellowships to address national needs, including the education of teachers and school leaders.