Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program
Return to the Frequently Asked Questions home page.
- What do you mean by ‘principal’?
- I am a principal in a [fill-in-the-blank] school. Am I eligible?
- Is this only open to principals in traditional public schools?
- Why is this only open to principals in the preschool-12th grade sector?
- I am an assistant principal. Am I eligible?
- Am I eligible if this was my fifth year as principal?
- What if I have worked as an assistant principal or a similar position for [#] years before my position as a principal for the past [1-4] years?
- What if I have worked in different schools, and/or for five inconsecutive years?
- Can I apply if I'm not a U.S. Citizen?
- Why is a recommendation from my district a required application component?
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.TOP
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.TOP
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 are already verified as “governmental instrumentalities,” with which the Federal government can engage in an IPA. Private schools must be certified as "other organizations" appropriate for this purpose and Charter schools must be reviewed to determine whether they are outlined as a government instrumentality in their approved charter documents, or if they will need to be certified as another organization with which the Department is allowed to enter into such an agreement.
Therefore, private school employers will be asked to request certification from the Department and provide the following information from their school on behalf of their selected Fellow: 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, charter school employers will be asked to provide their school’s chartering documents on behalf of the selected Fellow. They may also need to request certification and supply the documents above.TOP
4. Why is this only open to principals in the preschool-12th grade sector?
We believe the role of the preschool-12 principal 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 program is specifically aimed at current principals. 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.TOP
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 fifth year as principal?
Yes; if you will have completed five years of experience by the Fellowship start date, you are eligible to apply. If you have completed four years of experience and are entering your fifth this coming fall, you are not eligible to apply.TOP
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 [1-4] years?
The experience requirement assumes some prior experience as an assistant principal, teacher etc. Unfortunately, if you do not have five 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.TOP
8. What if I have worked in different schools, and/or for five inconsecutive years?
That’s fine. As long as you have worked for at least five years as principal, you are eligible. Your experience need not be five years in the same school, and it need not be five consecutive years.TOP
9. Can I apply if I'm not a U.S. Citizen?
In order to serve in a position with the U.S. government, you must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident; therefore you must be a citizen or permanent resident in order to apply.TOP
10. Why is a recommendation from my district a required application component?
Support from administrators is required in order to enter into an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement between your district and the Department of Education, as the purpose of the Act is to share the expertise of the employee in order to provide mutual benefit to the two organizations. All Fellows work for the Department of Education on a temporary basis through the IPA program in order to share their practical expertise. While an IPA does not need to be discussed in detail until a principal is selected as a Fellow, having the commitment of district leadership from the outset to secure agreement to an IPA is critical.
The support of administrators is important to ensure open communication between participating Fellows 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 school 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.
For the Campus Fellows, the IPA 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.TOP