What does it take to become a transformational leader? What does it take to become a Ryan Fellow?

Drive. Passion. Focus. Leadership. Grit. Those are just a few of the words used to describe today’s Ryan Fellows. They’re the leaders who are out there with a plan—the right plan to make a dramatic impact in the lives of children in underserved urban communities. It’s not easy. Any Ryan Fellow will tell you that. But they’ll also tell you that the hard work they put in, tirelessly, day in and out, pays off in the success stories they’re helping create for their students. 

Selection Criteria for The Ryan Fellowship 

The ideal profile of a Ryan Fellow is a candidate who has the following qualities, experiences and career achievements: 

  • Alignment with Accelerate Institute's mission
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Growth Mindset
  • Professionalism
  • Communication
  • Instructional Expertise​
  • Work Ethic
  • Confidence
  • Relationship Building
  • High Level of Emotional Intelligence

What is the mission of Accelerate Institute?

Closing the achievement gap by creating high-impact school leaders who accelerate student achievement.

 Where is The Ryan Fellowship located?

The Ryan Fellowship begins in July with the four-week Accelerate Summer Institute at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Fellows then return to their regions and begin a six-month Field Study at an urban charter school in the city where the Ryan Fellow is located. Once Ryan Fellows complete the Field Study, the Fellow is hired as a principal in their region and continues to work closely with their Ryan Fellow advisor during their first two years of principalship.

This past year, The Ryan Fellowship recruited Fellows in Chicago, Memphis, and Milwaukee. We expect to continue to place in these regions and are exploring other potential regions around the country for upcoming cohorts.

Chicago, IL

The Ryan Fellowship has been training principals in Chicago for the past five years. We are proud to partner with many well-known charter networks in Chicago such as Noble Network, Catalyst, and CICS among others.

Memphis, TN

In January of 2013, The Ryan Fellowship announced they would be expanding programming to Memphis. The Ryan Fellowship was selected by the Achievement School District to promote an elite corps of principals to lead the transformation of the lowest performing schools in Memphis over the next five years. 

Milwaukee, WI

Since 2013, The Ryan Fellowship has partnered with Carmen High School of Science and Technology to provide an elite corps of principals to lead the transformation of schools in Milwaukee.

Who can apply?

The Ryan Fellowship’s criteria are based on five main areas: 

  1. Fit with The Ryan Fellowship mission
  2. Instructional expertise (minimum of 3+ years of K-12 full-time classroom teaching experience, as well as experience with instructional coaching for other teachers)
  3. Formal school-based adult management experience (minimum of 1+ years in a supervisory role such as AP or director of instruction)
  4. Experience teaching and leading in a high-need school (70%+ students of color and students receiving free/reduced lunch)
  5. Leadership/management qualities (e.g., confidence, grit, the ability to motivate and inspire, etc.)

How do I nominate someone for The Ryan Fellowship?

Please contact Stephanie Shear, Director of Talent to nominate a candidate for The Ryan Fellowship. Please include the candidate’s name, contact information (email/phone), current title, and school/organization as well as a brief statement about why you are nominating them.

If I nominate someone, can my nominee be a principal of a school I select?

Yes. Nominators, associations, or charter management organizations (CMOs) may both nominate and sponsor an Accelerate participant who will be placed at the school chosen by the sponsor following the first year of the Accelerate The Ryan Fellowship program. Please contact Stephanie Shear, Director of Talent to discuss this opportunity.

How much does The Ryan Fellowship cost for participants?

The Ryan Fellowship covers tuition and materials as well as room and board for Accelerate Summer Institute at the Kellogg School of Management. In most cases, The Ryan Fellowship will match a candidate's current salary during Accelerate Summer Institute and the Field Study, plus benefits. 

What is The Ryan Fellowship’s success rate?

The past three cohorts (Classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016), 100% of Ryan Fellows who successfully completed the program have been offered principal positions. While we cannot guarantee principal placement, the rigorous selection process and training that Ryan Fellows undergo—as well as the partnerships Accelerate Institute forms in each region—makes Ryan Fellows highly competitive (and sought after) candidates for principal positions. In total, 95% of Ryan Fellows recommended for principalship were hired as principals.

Ryan Fellow principals are currently leading elementary, middle, and high schools in Baton Rouge, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Newark, and New York City; and they are achieving impressive gains for their students. Overall in the 2014-15 school year, Ryan Fellow principals achieved 1.44 years growth (K-8 based on NWEA) and 1.20 years growth (HS based on ACT). 

What is the selection committee looking for?

Ryan Fellows are chosen based on their past achievements in urban education and their potential and commitment to becoming leaders who can close the achievement gap. Candidates must have uncommon vision, relentless focus and disciplined execution. For more details, please see our selection criteria at the top of this page.

When is the application deadline?

The Ryan Fellowship has a rolling application and selection process. The application for the Class of 2018 will open in August. Application deadlines are:

  • September 15, 2016
  • December 1, 2016
  • January 17, 2017
  • March 31, 2017

We have a limited number of Fellowships available for each region, so we encourage candidates to apply early. Please contact Stephanie Shear, Director of Talent for more information. 

What is the selection process? 

The Ryan Fellowship selection process consists of 7 steps:

  1. Complete the eligibility questionnaire. Qualified applicants will receive an email with a link to apply and a request for a current resume.
  2. Upon receipt of the email and successful resume submission, you will have 7 days to complete your application (video and written). Please allow approximately 30-45 minutes to complete the written portion and 15-20 minutes to complete the video.
  3. Phone interview
  4. Video interview
  5. Supervisor reference
  6. In-person finalist interview
  7. Additional references and possible school visit

Who can I contact to learn more?

Please contact Stephanie Shear, Director of Talent, for more information about The Ryan Fellowship.