January 20, 2022
Contact for Education Pioneers:
Terrence Kneisel
VP, External Relations

 New Fellowship Program Announced to Support Education Sector’s COVID-19 Recovery

National nonprofit to provide additional capacity for districts and schools as they address pandemic-related challenges

Boston, MA – Education Pioneers (EP), a national nonprofit that builds the leadership and management capacity of the K-12 public education sector, announced today a new program to support the education sector’s long-term recovery from  COVID-19. The EP COVID Recovery Fellowship will place talented education professionals with school districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies where they will provide chief of staff-type support to senior education administrative leaders on initiatives critical to learning recovery and K-12 rebuilding. 

This program builds on the EP COVID Response Fellowship, a program EP launched in 2020 to respond to acute needs as school systems sought to re-open classrooms safely. EP provided 24 chief of staff-level leaders to 23 school systems that reached more than 7 million students.

As 2022 begins, school systems face ongoing challenges related to community health and safety, student learning, and resource alignment. Though additional financial resources are now present to assist with recovery, deploying them most effectively requires rapid learning and thoughtful decision making — especially as school systems seek to evolve and center equity. 

“Education Pioneers COVID Response Fellows made a significant impact for 20+ school systems last year,” said Melissa Wu, CEO of Education Pioneers. “School districts and charter school networks have told us they need more leadership capacity to navigate ongoing pandemic challenges while setting a new vision for the future. EP’s purpose is to mobilize a diverse network of leaders who can address education’s most pressing challenges — and we are proud to provide adaptable, inclusive problem solvers to address COVID recovery.”

Partner school districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies will hire COVID Recovery Fellows to work on 12-month assignments alongside senior leaders. Fellows will bring deep management and execution skills, have an orientation towards equity and inclusion, and possess an ability to strategically organize priorities to ensure leadership teams are able to tackle the most urgent and essential issues with their limited time. 

“Our COVID Response Fellow allowed the senior executive team to focus on managing the pandemic in real time,” said Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, a COVID Response Fellowship partner. “Part of our success in pivoting between remote and in-person instructional models was due to our rapid improvement cycles informed by stakeholder feedback data. Our Fellow, along with her project management and strategic communications skills, was instrumental in our implementation of our Return to Learn Plan and strategic planning work that will benefit us for years to come.”

Education Pioneers has nearly 20 years of experience recruiting and developing talent for the education sector, with more than 4,500 Alumni across the nation. The COVID Recovery Fellowship will once again have a more senior talent profile than EP’s signature programs, with most Fellows having over 10 years of experience and significant leadership within the education sector. 

In addition to their work placements, COVID Recovery Fellows will participate in a national cohort, receiving coaching, community support, and a base for problem-solving and knowledge-sharing opportunities among a group of peers doing similar work. 

“I’m really grateful for my EP COVID Response Fellowship experience,” said COVID Response Fellow Amanda Harless as she concluded her Fellowship. “It has provided me with connections, a network, and so many valuable learning experiences that have shaped me into the next iteration of the leader I’m supposed to be, and I will take those lessons forward into my next chapter.” 

Schools, districts, and state agency employees interested in exploring a partnership can learn more at Education professionals searching for a new opportunity are invited to learn more and apply in February 2022 for the cohort beginning in May 2022. Education champions interested in investment opportunities are encouraged to reach out to Terrence Kneisel, Vice President of External Relations at Education Pioneers. 

About Education Pioneers

Education Pioneers builds the pipeline of leaders outside the classroom who enable teachers and students to be successful inside the classroom. Since 2003, Education Pioneers has recruited and trained over 4,500 leaders in partnership with more than 900 education organizations nationwide.

Of the organization’s Alumni in the workforce, more than 70% serve in education and lead or contribute to work that impacts public school students in major cities across the nation, most of whom are students of color and growing up in underserved areas. Learn more:

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