Innovation School Fellowship


The application for the 8th cohort of The Mind Trust’s Innovation School Fellowship is now open! Start your application today.

Through this nationally unique paid fellowship, exceptional school leaders have the opportunity to spend one to two years developing sustainable school models for Indianapolis that attract and retain high-quality, diverse talent; commit to equitably serve their school community; and have an academic vision of excellence for all students. Read more about Fellows from past cohorts.

Fellows receive extensive support that will help them launch Innovation Network Schools that combine the freedoms and flexibilities of charter schools with the resources and services of district schools. Read more about the K-12 schools launched in Indianapolis by School Fellows.

The Mind Trust created the Innovation School Fellowship in 2014 in partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation to launch Innovation Network Schools within Indianapolis’ largest public school district.

Since 2014, The Mind Trust’s School Fellowships have supported the launch of 32 IPS Innovation Network Schools and charter schools. In fall 2020, School Fellows launched five schools in Indianapolis: Believe Circle City High School, Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School, The PATH School at School 67, Rooted School Indianapolis, and Sankofa School of Success

Support & Resources

Innovation School Fellows are paid one or two full years of a competitive salary with healthcare and benefits. Additionally, Fellows access a wide variety of supports, expertise, and trainings, including:
  • Continuous, high-quality professional development and trainings for the Fellow, which could also potentially extend to founding school team members;
  • Personalized coaching and support from a network of educational and executive leaders;
  • Collaboration with a cohort of talented education leaders with similar goals and diverse backgrounds;
  • Opportunities to travel and engage with leaders at some of the nation’s best innovative schools; and
  • Extensive expertise and feedback on the school design and building process from a team responsible for supporting the launch of 38 public schools in Indianapolis.
We are happy to answer any questions about compensation and the benefits included with the Fellowship before or during the application process.


Great Leaders, Great Schools

The Mind Trust believes it takes exceptional school leaders to design and build schools that provide all students, no exceptions, with the education they deserve. Because of this, we choose Fellows who exhibit:

  • Experience managing teams of adults to achieve outstanding results for students;
  • An ambitious, laser-like focus on academic achievement for all students;
  • A dedication to equity and its impact on students, communities, teachers, and governance;
  • An entrepreneurial drive that communicates resilience, fortitude, and visionary solutions for intractable challenges; and
  • A research-grounded model with a clear mission and vision that will motivate stakeholders.

Application & Selection Process

The first step in the application process is to submit a Statement of Intent. Prospective applicants can preview the Statement of Intent questions here. Note: This document is for drafting and planning purposes only. Please do not submit your Statement of Intent with this document. Submissions must be made through the online application portal

Submission dates to remember:

  • September 15, 2021: Application opens; applicants can submit Statement of Intent
  • January 6, 2021: Statements of Intent are due for consideration in the eighth cohort of Innovation School Fellows. 
  • February 7, 2021: After review, select candidates will be invited to submit a Full Application by this date. Incomplete application materials will not be considered.
  • Late February – March 2021: The Mind Trust will conduct initial interviews during February and make decisions on Fellowship awards in late March. 
  • Summer 2021: The Mind Trust announces the cohort of new School Fellows.

Innovation Network School Fellowships are awarded in close partnership with IPS after a final interview with a selection committee of distinguished local and national education leaders.

Questions about The Mind Trust’s School Fellowships and application process can be directed to Amber Audrain, Director of Alignment and School Investments. Email Amber.

The Mind Trust’s Fellows in the news

Ma’at Lands, Cohort 6: ‘Overlooked for far too long’: Eastside church partners with The Mind Trust to launch new middle school via Chalkbeat

Geoff Fenelus, Cohort 7: Haiti, Brooklyn, Indy: My journey as a founder and CEO via The Indianapolis Recorder

Kim Neal, Cohort 6 and David Spencer, Cohort 5: ‘No One is Invisible:’ Leadership Lessons and Advice from School Leaders via TeachForAmerica.org

Shatoya Ward, Cohort 4 and Darius Sawyers, Cohort 5: VIDEO – New Life for P.R. Mallory & Co. Building via Inside Indiana Business

Mariama Carson, Cohort 1: Quality School Options: Empowering school leaders to turn vision into reality via The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation