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 in underserved urban 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 their students. 

Selection Criteria for The Ryan Fellowship 

The ideal profile of a Ryan Fellow is a candidate who has the following qualities, experiences and career achievements: 

  • Alignment with Accelerate Institute's mission
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Growth Mindset
  • Professionalism
  • Communication
  • Instructional Expertise​
  • Work Ethic
  • Confidence
  • Relationship Building
  • High Level of Emotional Intelligence

What is the mission of Accelerate Institute?

Closing the achievement gap by creating high-impact school leaders who accelerate student achievement.

 Where is The Ryan Fellowship located?

The Ryan Fellowship begins in July with the four-week Accelerate Summer Institute at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Fellows then return to their regions and begin a six-month Field Study at an urban charter school in the city where the Ryan Fellow is located. Once Ryan Fellows complete the Field Study, the Fellow is hired as a principal in their region and continues to work closely with their Ryan Fellow advisor during their first two years of principalship.

This past year, The Ryan Fellowship recruited Fellows in Chicago, Memphis, and Milwaukee. We expect to continue to place in these regions and are exploring other potential regions around the country for upcoming cohorts.

Who can apply?

The Ryan Fellowship’s criteria are based on five main areas: 

  1. Fit with The Ryan Fellowship mission
  2. Instructional expertise (minimum of 3+ years of K-12 full-time classroom teaching experience, as well as experience with instructional coaching)
  3. Formal school-based adult management experience (minimum of 1+ years in a supervisory role such as AP or director of instruction)
  4. Experience teaching and leading in a high-need school (70%+ students of color and students receiving free/reduced lunch)
  5. Leadership/management qualities (e.g., confidence, grit, the ability to motivate and inspire, etc.)

How do I nominate someone for The Ryan Fellowship?

Please contact Kyle Smucker to nominate a candidate for The Ryan Fellowship. Please include the candidate’s name, contact information (email/phone), current title, and school/organization as well as a brief statement about why you are nominating them.

If I nominate someone, can my nominee be a principal of a school I select?

Yes. Nominators, associations, or charter management organizations (CMOs) may both nominate and sponsor an Accelerate participant who will be placed at the school chosen by the sponsor following the first year of the Accelerate The Ryan Fellowship program. Please contact Stephanie Shear, Director of Talent to discuss this opportunity.

How much does The Ryan Fellowship cost for participants?

There is no participant cost. Accelerate Institute  covers tuition and materials as well as room and board for Accelerate Summer Institute at the Kellogg School of Management. In most cases, Accelerate Institute will match a candidate's current salary during Accelerate Summer Institute and the Field Study, and provide benefits. 

What is The Ryan Fellowship’s success rate?

While we cannot guarantee principal placement, the rigorous selection process and training that Ryan Fellows undergo—as well as the partnerships Accelerate Institute forms in each region—makes Ryan Fellows highly competitive (and sought after) candidates for principal positions. In total, 94% of Ryan Fellows recommended for principalship were hired as principals.

Elementary and middle schools led by Accelerate Institute alumni are closing the achievement gap and growing an average of 1.2 years in math and reading on average (Based on NWEA). Overall in the 2014-15 school year, Ryan Fellow principals achieved 1.44 years growth (K-8 based on NWEA) and 1.20 years growth (HS based on ACT). 

What is the selection committee looking for?

Ryan Fellows are chosen based on their past achievements in urban education and their potential and commitment to becoming leaders who can close the achievement gap. Candidates must have uncommon vision, relentless focus and disciplined execution. For more details, please see our selection criteria at the top of this page.

When is the application deadline?

The Ryan Fellowship has a rolling application and selection process. The application for the Class of 2018 will open in August. Application deadlines are:

  • November 18, 2017
  • January 15, 2018
  • February 28, 2018
  • March 31, 2018

We have a limited number of Fellowships available for each region, so we encourage candidates to apply early. Please contact Stephanie Shear, Director of Talent for more information. 

What is the selection process? 

The Ryan Fellowship selection process consists of 5 steps:

  • Online application
  • Phone interview
  • Video interview
  • In-person finalist interview
  • References check 

Who can I contact to learn more?

Please contact Stephanie Shear, Director of Talent, for more information about The Ryan Fellowship.