Empowering urban schools with leaders who are change agents

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 living in high-poverty 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 all of our children. 

Hear from some Ryan Fellows in their own words 

Owen Ricciardi: Joining the Memphis Movement

Owen Ricciardi: Joining the Memphis Movement

Dawn Sandoval: Accelerating Student Achievement

Dawn Sandoval: Accelerating Student Achievement

Lindsey’s Story: From TFA to The Ryan Fellowship

Lindsey’s Story: From TFA to The Ryan Fellowship

Tonya Randall, Ryan Fellow, Learning to Lead

Tonya Randall: Learning to Lead

Tom McPherson, Ryan Fellow, The Ryan Fellowship Experience

Tom McPherson: The Ryan Fellowship Experience

Have questions about The Ryan Fellowship? Go here.

About The Ryan Fellowship  

Ryan Fellows are the nation’s next generation of highly-effective school principals

Accelerate Institute partners with schools and CMOs in our Ryan Fellowship regions to identify, develop, and support aspiring school principals through a rigorous three-year program. Ryan Fellows learn how to lead a successful school through the objectives of the Accelerate Framework: Change Management, High-Performing Team, Constructive Environment, Aspirational Environment, Data-Driven Culture, and Black Belt Teaching. They also receive individualized Advisory as they strengthen and develop the leadership skills and characteristics of transformational school leaders.

During the Fellowship Year (Year 1) Ryan Fellows complete a 4-week Summer Institute in Chicago and then spend the academic year completing their Field Study (residency) in their region where they have the opportunity to practice, plan, and prepare for school leadership. Once Fellows successfully complete Year 1 and begin their careers as principals, they receive two additional years of customized Advisory and support to ensure their success and the dramatic acceleration of student achievement.  

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more by watching this 4-minute video for a general overview of The Ryan Fellowship

Overview of The Ryan Fellowship

Overview of The Ryan Fellowship

Timeline of The Ryan Fellowship

Year 1 Summer – Accelerate Summer Institute at Kellogg

Year 1 Fall/Spring – Field Study in Ryan Fellowship Region (7-11 months)

Year 2 – Begin Principalship with Ongoing Accelerate Institute Support*

Year 3 – Principalship with Ongoing Accelerate Institute Support

*Some Ryan Fellows have an additional “planning year” after the Fellowship Year (Year 1) in anticipation of a new school launch or principalship opportunity where they may remain in an AP/DOI position or in a formal planning year. This is a decision between the Ryan Fellow and the school site, and Accelerate Institute will begin Year 2 support when the Fellow is in a principalship with students in attendance.


Download a detailed timeline of The Ryan Fellowship here.

Meeting the Challenge: A Pragmatic Approach to Developing Aspiring Principals

Advisory Model  

Ryan Fellows come into the program with a continuous improvement mindset


  • Shows a relentless pursuit of perfection
  • Learns and iterates constantly; gets better all the time
  • Has a “whatever it takes” mindset

The Ryan Fellowship does not subscribe to one type of coaching, but instead draws from proven techniques and the knowledge and experience of our team members. These include the techniques from the Talent Code, Blended Coaching, and Six Steps of Effective Feedback. Practice coupled with professional support is what strengthens one’s ability to handle the greatest challenges and highest pressure situations as if we have been there before.

Ryan Fellow-Led Schools Across the U.S. 

The Ryan Fellowship US Schools

Ryan Fellow Cities  

Where are they are making a difference?

Click on the links below to see these transformational leaders by city. They come from across the nation, but they all have one thing in common: a passion and drive to close the achievement gap in underserved schools.


Baton Rouge


Los Angeles




New York City

Oklahoma City, OK

San Francisco

Springfield, MI



Ryan Fellows continue to make an impact across the nation

Ryan Fellows have established themselves as a corps of transformational leaders who take a relentless approach to unleash the potential of our most vulnerable students. Here are just a few of their recent accomplishments:

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Have questions about The Ryan Fellowship? Click here.

Accelerate Institute is approved by the Private Business and Vocational Schools Division of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. You may contact them by calling (217) 782-2551 or send an email to info@ibhe.org. To file a complaint, visit the IBHE online complaint system at www.complaints.ibhe.org. Accelerate Institute is not accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting body.