The Innovative Schools Fellowship is a two-year incubator that supports future school founders as they design and launch a new school in St. Louis. Fellows work with parents and community to design and launch a new school while receiving full salary and benefits. We aim to select up to two to four fellows each year.
Building Schools for the Future
The Opportunity Trust believes that all students deserve a school that honors who they are and prepares them to thrive in our rapidly changing world. However, that promise goes unrealized for far too many students in St. Louis.
We are committed to supporting bold leaders who are working to provide families with the schools they deserve. The Innovative Schools Fellowship is an opportunity for school visionaries to imagine, design, pilot, and launch world-class schools in response to family and community needs in St. Louis.
Launching Exceptional Schools
There are multiple pathways to launching exceptional schools through this program. We are open to innovation and are particularly interested in these areas of need:
- Traditional: co-design an innovative school model for an excellent school.
- Special Education: co-design an innovative school to serve students with various needs.
- Alternative Education: co-design an innovative school to serve students in a non-traditional education setting.
- Virtual or Hybrid Education: co-design an innovative school that leverages technology to promote anytime, anywhere learning for students.
- Credentialing School: co-design an innovative school that provides students with career training and credentials.
- An LEA that incubates micro-schools, and
- Expansion of CMO with a track record of success
The Innovative Schools Fellowship is built around five core beliefs that guide each step of the program.
Fellows operate as true leaders, directing and tailoring the support they need to achieve ambitious aims. They advocate for what they need. This level of agency represents not only the caliber of leader in the program but grows the skills we know are critical in the long-term success of school leadership.
We seek diverse inspiration and push ourselves to pursue bold visions. We are voracious about learning from the best out there but open to imagining something new when necessary for our kids.
The stakes are high, and so is the bar. We hold world-class standards for ourselves and each other. We vet our thinking with proven research and evidence.
We balance planning and visioning with doing--bringing the model into action through pilots, having multiple chances to practice key leadership skills while getting feedback. We commit to cycles of doing, reflection, iteration.
Great work is done in great teams. We humbly link arms with each other and many groups beyond The Opportunity Trust. We elevate the voices of students and families and co-create alongside them.
Ecosystem of Support
Fellows have access to numerous supports to help design and launch a world-class school for children in St. Louis, including:
Fellows will have regular meetings with a coach to support the process, offer guidance, and identify additional resources and opportunities to drive progress.
Community & Network
We will help to build a broader network of co-creators, advisors, and formal supports. Fellows will also have access to and collaboration with other fellows, staff members of The Opportunity Trust, and leading thinkers both locally and across the nation.
The Opportunity Trust delivers bi-weekly learning days to provide a regular opportunity for fellows to come together to advance their work. They are meant to provide space to tackle responsive needs and forecast key areas of knowledge and skill-building.
We partner with Attuned to provide world-class content and support in applying the best-in-class insights from effective schools–with a particular focus on curriculum, instruction, enabling systems, culture, and talent practices.
Tools & Resources
Salary ranging from $90,000 to $125,000 per year and health benefits provided for up to two years while designing and preparing to launch a new school.
In addition to your salary and benefits, you are eligible for a $25K planning grant to support your learning, piloting, and upstart costs each year.
Innovative Schools Fellows gain access to curated research, templates, and tools that we believe will help your journey.
While we’re actively seeking diverse profiles of leadership, applicants must demonstrate:
An unwavering bar for excellence and a track record of results
You are obsessed with exceeding the bar for rigorous and relevant learning and can show results achieved. School leadership experience is preferred.
Commitment to equity
You regularly reflect on identity and power and are poised to co-create schools that represent a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Curiosity and self-direction
You are humble and continually seek out broad inspiration. You drive development and are prepared to take the reins of your fellowship journey. You effectively manage your time and execute tasks to completion.
Strong people leadership
You have experience leading diverse, thriving teams and supporting the growth and development of others.
You have the ability to connect with diverse audiences and convey compelling messages through verbal and written communication.
A promising vision for a new school
While this will evolve through the program, you have an initial school vision that speaks to an authentic community need and represents an engaging, rigorous, relevant learning environment for students.
Founder, The Leadership School
The EIR program has been invaluable to my journey to design and build an excellent school. The programmatic and coaching support has allowed me to learn from the best schools and education leaders around the country, ensuring that we build a school that will be successful from the first day.
ISF Application Process Opens
Priority Application Deadline
The Selection Process
One-Way Video Interview
Final Interview including Community Forum
Mutual Due Diligence