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Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program

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Applicant Information

The Application Process for the 2016-2017 U.S. Department of Education Principal Ambassador Fellowship is now open and will close on December 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Only complete applications received by this time and date will be considered for review.

To submit your application: please email the required components (a current resume, four short essays, and a letter of recommendation from your employer) to Please put the title, “2016 Application” and your last name in your subject line, and indicate whether you are applying for the full-time Washington-based or the part-time Campus Fellowship. For example, “2016 Application – Ross – Campus Fellowship.”

Applicants are encouraged to apply for either the full-time Washington-based or the part-time Campus Fellowship, not both. Please note that only currently practicing principals with at least five years of experience are eligible to apply for this program (if the current school year is your fifth year as a principal, you are eligible). We understand that some schools may use different terminology than “principal,” so a candidate is considered eligible, despite titling differences, provided that s/he is the highest administrative official in the school building.

Please carefully read the Eligibility, Program Overview, and Frequently Asked Questions  before completing this application.

Application Components

A complete application package includes 1) four short essay responses to the question prompts, 2) a current resume, and 3) a letter of recommendation from your employer for this program.

All required materials reflect and will be assessed against the key qualities we seek in selected Principal Ambassador Fellows, which are:

  • Contributions to Student Learning & Culture — the extent to which the candidate has had demonstrable and meaningful impact on student achievement and school success;
  • Effective Leadership and Team Work — the extent to which the candidate brings a record of effective leadership and team work amongst peers and other key stakeholders;
  • Applicable Skills — the extent to which the candidate demonstrates the skills required to serve as a Fellow including written and oral communication skills;
  • Relevant Interests & Expertise — the extent to which the candidate has the ability to provide applicable insights from school and district experiences to education policy, programs, and initiatives; and,
  • School System Support — the extent to which the candidate has demonstrable support from their employer for program participation.

More specifically, a complete application includes:

A. Four Narrative Responses

The applicant must respond to the following four questions with short narrative responses (no more than 500 words):

  • Contributions to Student Learning & Culture — Describe your effectiveness as a principal as measured by improved student outcomes and other measures of school success. Include quantitative and qualitative evidence. Discuss how your unique school context, setting and demographics inform your approach and efforts as a principal.

  • Effective Leadership and Team Work — Describe your experience as a principal and provide examples of your approach and style as a leader, both within your specific school among teachers and staff and in teams or settings that include peers, educational leaders at a variety of school levels, or other key education stakeholders. You may also include relevant experience from your personal, educational or broader professional background.

  • Applicable Skills and Experience — The Department is fast-paced and Fellows often work in an ambiguous environment. Fellows must digest and relay complex information and comfortably network and communicate with a wide variety of stakeholders. Describe relevant experience you have had in similar environments or in carrying out similar tasks you, and with writing and orally presenting on education issues. Include strategies, tools or resources that you have allowed you to be successful.

  • Interests and Expertise — Discuss how your experience can inform the Department’s work and what you hope to gain from the experience. Include relevant experience specific to Department funded programs, including the impact in your school community, and/or in the key areas of implementing rigorous standards and instruction; support for great teachers and leaders; turning around chronically low-performing schools; and

Highly rated candidates provide succinct but thorough responses addressing each of the sub-components of the question and provide examples demonstrating how the applicant meets the above criteria. Applications are peer-reviewed as a whole package. While information found in any part of the application will be considered in the review, applicants are encouraged to clearly demonstrate how they meet the criteria outlined in each question and may repeat information as is necessary to do so.

B. An Employer Letter of Recommendation

Principal Ambassador Fellows learn a great deal about Federal policy and programs during their year and in turn are asked to share this information with other teachers and stakeholders, including those in their own school communities, as well as to provide feedback to the Department of Education on these based on their own experience and what they hear from colleagues in the field. As the Fellowship is designed to be of mutual benefit to the Department and the participant’s school community, the program is conducted through the Federal Government’s Intergovernmental Personnel Act Authority. District support for Principal Ambassador Fellowship participation is thus an essential component for program participation.

The required Employer letter should indicate an understanding of the requirements of participation in the Fellowship program and recommend you for the program. The letter must be on letterhead and signed in order to be considered. It may be written by the candidate’s direct supervisor, but must include sign-off by the Superintendent (or equivalent position depending context.)

Please note: Recommenders do not need to submit any paperwork at this point or guarantee IPA approval. Rather the employer letter should demonstrate a willingness by the candidate’s supervisor to assist in ultimately gaining district approval for the IPA should they be selected.

Information in the letter that supports or bolsters your narrative responses on any of the topics above will be taken into account in the review process. Highly rated submissions speak to specific ways in which the applicant is a valued member of the broader school community and ways in which the writer and/or others will enable the candidate’s program participation.

C. A Current Resume

A resume is required for all Federal candidates. It should at a minimum provide current and best contact information, clearly indicate the current school and district in which you serve, and verify that you have taught for at least five years (including the current school year). Resumes are required to verify eligibility; however, information within one’s resume is used to validate and enhance reviewers’ understanding of information contained within your narrative responses. All personably identifiable information shared through this process will be secured and used for application review and follow-up communication alone.

How Applications Are Evaluated

All applications are screened for eligibility and reviewed by teams of current and alumni Fellows and Department staff members who have been or work closely on issues of concern to educators.

Applications are rated and scored on a 100 point scale according the criteria listed above. The most highly rated applicants may be asked to participate in telephone and potentially in-person interview processes.

All applicants will be notified throughout the process about their progress in the Fellowship application and selection process.

Last Modified: 11/16/2015