Innovation School Fellowship

The application for the ninth cohort of the Innovation School Fellowship is now open!

Great Leaders for Great Schools

The Innovation School Fellowship helps exceptional school leaders develop sustainable educational models to launch or restart schools within the Indianapolis Public School (IPS) district. Fellows receive personalized coaching, resources, and training throughout the program, as well as ongoing support once schools are launched.

The Mind Trust created the Innovation School Fellowship in 2014 in partnership with IPS and the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation.

Fellowship Highlights:

  • Nationally-unique, paid fellowship opportunity for talented school leaders
  • One to two-year cohort experience with other fellows working to launch high-quality public schools
  • Opportunities to travel and engage with leaders at some of the nation’s best innovative schools
  • Extensive expertise and feedback on school design and building process from an experienced team who supported the launch of 41 public schools in Indianapolis

The Innovation School Fellowship is one of two School Fellowships with The Mind Trust. Learn more about our Charter School Fellowship. Note: there is no open application for the Charter School Fellowship.

Statement of Intent Office Hours

Please sign-up for one of the following office hour sessions if you have questions or would like support in completing your State of Intent.

Innovation School Fellowship Impact

  • Innovation School Fellowship alumni have launched 17 Innovation Network schools in Indianapolis since 2014. 
  • In the 2021-2022 school year, Innovation School Fellows launched 2 schools: Promise Prep and Paramount Online Academy.
  • The Mind Trust is currently working with our 8th cohort of the Innovation School Fellowship. The Fellowship began in the 2014-2015 school year. 
  • In the 2020-2021 school year, more than 6,200 students attended schools launched by Innovation School Fellows.
  • According to a 2019 study from Stanford University, students in Innovation Network Schools are achieving 2-3 months of additional learning in reading and math.

When I started with KIPP Indy Public Schools some years ago, school leadership was not brand new to me. When they shared the opportunity to do the Innovation School Fellowship with The Mind Trust as part of developing KIPP Indy Legacy High, it sounded amazing.

Three things really stood out to me: the exceptional professional development, the chance to connect with veteran leaders, and the partnership with a cohort of Fellows.

David Spencer, Innovation School Fellow alumni + Founder and School Leader of KIPP Indy Legacy High

Qualities of a Innovation School Fellow

Innovation School Fellows are experienced school leaders who have a vision for an equitable, sustainable public school model for Indianapolis students. We are looking for Fellowship applicants 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

Proposed School Model

Innovation School Fellowship applicants should propose an equitable, sustainable public school model for Indianapolis students. School models should:

  • Have an academic vision of excellence for all students
  • Have a research-grounded model with a clear mission and vision that will motivate stakeholders
  • Attract and retain high-quality, diverse talent
  • Commit to equitably serve their school community
  • Align to a gap or need within the Indianapolis education landscape

Learn more about the existing schools supported by The Mind Trust.

World-Class Supports for Exceptional School Leaders

  • 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, including:
  • Personalized coaching and support from a network of educational and executive leaders;\nCollaboration with a cohort of education leaders with similar goals and diverse backgrounds
  • Opportunities to travel and engage with leaders at some of the nation’s most innovative schools;\nAccess to expertise and feedback on the school development, charter approval, launch, and local community engagement processes
  • Opportunities for ongoing support once the school is launched

Start your application

Click here to begin or continue your application. To begin, you must make an account. Click “Log In or Register” in the top right corner. Then click “Not a Member?” and complete the information requested. For assistance, please contact Paula Glover at pglover@themindtrust.org.

Application Dates to Remember

  • September 15, 2021: Application opens, interested applicants prepare and submit a Statement of Intent 
  • 11:59pm January 9, 2022: Statements of Intent due
  • Week of January 24, 2022: Selected candidates will be invited to submit a Full Application
  • February 6, 2022: Full Application materials due
  • Mid February – early March 2022: Interviews with The Mind Trust staff and community partners are held with selected candidates
  • Week of March 7: Final selections are made and candidates notified

Statement of Intent

To begin your application for the Innovation School Fellowship, you must prepare and submit at Statement of Intent (SOI). The SOI is where you will share your professional background, leadership story, results for student achievement in previous or current roles, and your vision for an equitable public school model for Indianapolis students.

Click here to view the questions asked on the Statement of Intent

Note: Applicants must submit responses in the Community Portal.

Do you want to learn more about our School Fellowship application process, experience, or if this could be a fit for you? Contact Paula Glover to connect 1:1 during the application process.

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