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Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program

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Eligibility and Requirements

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  1. What do you mean by ‘principal’?
  2. I am a principal in a [fill-in-the-blank] school. Am I eligible?
  3. Is this only open to principals in traditional public schools?
  4. Why is this only open to principals in the preschool-12th grade sector?
  5. I am an assistant principal. Am I eligible?
  6. Am I eligible if this was my third year as principal?
  7. What if I have worked as an assistant principal or a similar position for [#] years before my position as a principal for the past [1-2] years?
  8. What if I have worked in different schools, and/or for three inconsecutive years?
  9. Can I apply if I'm not a U.S. Citizen?
  10. Why are you requiring a letter of recommendation from a student, teacher, staff, or community member?
  11. Why is a recommendation from my district a required application component?
  12. Why is there an optional letter of recommendation from staff of a professional development or training program or organization with which I’ve been involved?
  13. Is there a similar Fellowship program for other school administrators?

1. What do you mean by ‘principal’?

A candidate is considered eligible despite titling differences provided that s/he is the highest administrative official in the school building.

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2. I am a principal in a [fill-in-the-blank] school. Am I eligible?

The Department is committed to identifying a final team of selected Fellows that represents the diversity of our student body and settings in which students receive instruction across the country. Therefore, we encourage principals of students from throughout the preschool-12 sector, in urban, rural, and suburban U.S. school environments to apply. If you meet the Eligibility criteria, and can adequately address the application requirements, please consider submitting an application. Please note that as the hiring authority for the Principal Ambassador Fellowship is through the Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement Act, you must be employed by a State, local, or Indian tribal government, or another eligible non-profit organization that can demonstrate that educational services are a principal function.

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3. Is this only open to principals in traditional public schools?

No, the Fellowship is open to principals in any not-for-profit U.S. school, including not-for-profit private schools, as well as traditional public, charter, virtual, tribal or Department of Defense run schools. For the purposes of completing the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement, public schools qualify as governmental instrumentalities, whereas private schools must be certified as "other organizations" appropriate for this purpose. Therefore, selected Fellows from private schools will be asked to provide the following information from their school: 1) Articles of Incorporation; 2) Bylaws; 3) Internal Revenue Service non-profit statements; and 4) any other information, such as evidence of accreditation (by a State government or nationally recognized accreditation authority) which indicates that the organization has educational services as a principal function. If further clarification is required, please contact the Office of Non-Public Education at (202) 401- 1365 or OIINon-PublicEducation@ed.gov. Similarly, selected principals from charter or public virtual schools will be asked to provide verification that their school is an instrumentality of a State or local government.

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4. Why is this only open to principals in the preschool-12th grade sector?

We believe the role of the preschool-12 principalship is unique. This program is designed to highlight the views and concerns of current principals on policies that will directly affect their positions. We understand that those in different educational positions (even leadership positions) -- such as school counselors, assistant principals, or those in higher education -- have important experiences and perspectives to share on education. However, this is not the appropriate program. If you do not meet the criteria for this position and are interested in other employment opportunities with the U.S. Department of Education, you may visit EDHIRES to search current job openings. If you are a teacher interested in the program, please check out our Teacher Ambassador Fellowship here.

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5. I am an assistant principal. Am I eligible?
No. Sadly, at this time, we can only accept applications for principals. Some schools may use different terminology than “principal.” A candidate is considered eligible despite titling differences provided that s/he is the highest administrative official in the school building.  TOP


6. Am I eligible if this was my third year as principal?

Yes; if you will have completed three years of experience by the Fellowship start date, you are eligible to apply. If you have completed two years of experience and are entering your third this coming fall, you are not eligible to apply.

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7. What if I have worked as an assistant principal or a similar position for [#] years before my position as a principal for the past [1-2] years?

The three year experience requirement assumes some prior experience as an assistant principal, teacher etc. Unfortunately, if you do not have three years of experience as a principal, you are not eligible. We encourage you to stay connected however, and to apply in a few years once you become eligible.

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8. What if I have worked in different schools, and/or for three inconsecutive years?

That’s fine. As long as you have worked for at least three years as principal, you are eligible. Your experience need not be three years in the same school, and it need not be three consecutive years.

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9. Can I apply if I'm not a U.S. Citizen?

No. In order to serve in a position with the U.S. government, you must be a citizen of the United States; therefore you must be a citizen by the application receipt deadline to be eligible for the program.

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10. Why are you requiring a letter of recommendation from a student, teacher, staff, or community member?

Communication is not only vital to role of the principal, but also for the Fellowship. Fellows will be communicating with Department officials with their thoughts and ideas on education policies as well as with the other Fellows in order to design and shape the Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program. Principals who are great leaders in their community will be great leaders for the future of the Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program.

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11. Why is a recommendation from my district a required application component?

The support of administrators is important to ensure open communication between participating teachers and their school leadership and to foster collaboration at the school level. A primary goal of administrator support is to ensure that selected Fellows have the ability to share public U.S. Department of Education information and resources with and gain input from colleagues and district leadership. Our hope is that district administrators will help to facilitate and extend the sharing of information throughout the district and state whenever possible.

Support from administrators is also important to facilitating negotiation with the district to enter into an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement between your district and the Department of Education. All fellows will work under an IPA agreement which ensures that the district and Department are in agreement about the part-time federal employment of the selected Fellow and open to considering limited release time during the year. While the priority for Part-Time Fellows is always meeting student needs and school responsibilities, the more flexible their employer can be, the greater the benefit of the experience for the Fellow and the educators with whom they work.

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12. Why is there an optional letter of recommendation from staff of a professional development or training program or organization with which I’ve been involved?

One of the criteria on which applicants will be evaluated concerns applicants’ specific Fellowship work capacities, which include the ability to learn independently, provide perspective and innovative ideas within a sometimes ambiguous and rapidly shifting environment, and to work within a team to hear and communicate the needs of peers and other educators. The letter of recommendation simply allows applicants to supplement their responses to vacancy question F.

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13. Is there a similar Fellowship program for other school administrators?

The existing Principal Ambassador Fellowship program is aimed at current principals. The Department understands and values the key role of other administrators; however, no program exists at the Department at this time. If you are a teacher, please visit our Teacher Ambassador Fellowship page.

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Last Modified: 07/31/2013