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Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program

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  1. What is the Principal Ambassador Fellowship?
  2. Why did the Department develop the Principal Ambassador Fellowship?
  3. How does the Principal Ambassador Fellowship differ from the Teacher Ambassador Fellowship?
  4. How are principals selected as Fellows?
  5. How competitive is this program?
  6. When does the program start and how long will it run?
  7. What do principals do after the Fellowship?
  8. Whom should I contact for further information?

1. What is the Principal Ambassador Fellowship?

The Principal Ambassador Fellowship (PAF) program is an initiative that is designed to improve students’ education by involving current principals in the development and implementation of education policy. Principal Ambassador Fellows are selected to work for the U.S. Department of Education full-time at Headquarters, as Washington Fellows, and part-time on an hourly basis from their home communities, as Campus Fellows.

All Principal Fellows are current school principals on loan from their school or district through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Authority. They are paid to assist the Department at the Department’s expense and gain valuable professional development and experience with Federal materials and information. During their Fellowship, Fellows learn about the U.S. Department of Education’s programs, resources and policies, share this information with other educators, and provide input to the national conversation on education.

Please see our Program Overview for further information.

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2. Why did the Department develop the Principal Ambassador Fellowship?

The Principal Ambassador Fellowship was initiated in 2013 to build on the Department’s Teaching Ambassador Fellowship (TAF) program. The Department recognizes the important role that principals play on student academic achievement and wants to them to involve their important perspective in the policy process, specifically concerning how to find a better way to recruit, prepare, develop, and retain effective school leaders.

Similar to the TAF program, it is designed to further the Department’s mission by providing the opportunity for a cadre of outstanding principals to contribute their school experiences and expertise to the national education dialogue and in turn facilitate similar discussion with educators across the country. For the Fellows, the program allows them to add greater knowledge of policy and leadership to their toolkits to serve as further leaders in the field and create solutions for long intractable educational challenges at all levels.

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3. How does the Principal Ambassador Fellowship differ from the Teacher Ambassador Fellowship?

While Teaching Ambassador Fellows and Principal Ambassador Fellows carry out very similar activities and sometimes work together on issues of mutual concern, we recognize that the two groups of stakeholders hold very different positions and have different needs. The programs are thus separate, though the two teams or their members work together on specific projects.

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4. How are principals selected as Fellows?

Principals are selected through a competitive application process. In addition to meeting the basic eligibility criteria, applicants are selected based on impact on student learning; leadership record; insight based on school experience; communication skills; school community support; and capacity for the work of the Fellowship. Applications are rated based on their responses to six vacancy questions addressing each of these area; verification and further support is required from the applicant's resume and two to three letters of recommendation. To determine the most qualified and representative team of Fellows, the most highly rated applicants then participate in telephone and/or in-person individual and group interviews.

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5. How competitive is this program?

The Department has received approximately 500 applications in its first application cycles.

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6. When does the program start and how long will it run?

The Fellowship year runs from approximately mid-July to the following July each year.

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7. What do principals do after the Fellowship?

The Principal Ambassador Fellowship is designed to assist practicing principals to add greater knowledge of policy and education leadership to their expertise as school leaders. A goal of the IPA agreement is for the program to be of mutual benefit to the Department, the Fellow, and their sending school and district. We encourage employers to be innovative in taking advantage of the leadership skills and content knowledge Fellows gain through participation.

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8. Whom should I contact for further information?

For questions about the program during the application process, please call 1-800-USA-LEARN or email PrincipalFellowship@ed.gov  You can also sign up to receive email updates about the program.


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Last Modified: 11/12/2015