Why does the Fellowship do what it does?

The America Achieves Educator Voice Fellowship empowers great teachers and principals to shape education policy decisions in their state. We believe that educators who have helped students from all backgrounds succeed academically have an unmatched expertise about the ways that education policy affects teaching and learning and therefore should play a leading role in these conversations. Through our national network of statewide fellowship programs, we help educators learn how policy is made in their states, build their advocacy, communication, and leadership skills, and open doors for them to share their expertise to influence policy decisions. Our highly-selective program provides teachers and principals a platform for sharing their perspectives about what’s working and how to make improvements in their schools. In sum, the Fellowship brings what's inside great classrooms and schools to outside audiences, by supporting outstanding educators across the nation to:

  • Elevate educator voice in public conversations about teaching and learning
  • Assume leadership roles in their schools and communities
  • Influence education policies at the district, state, and national levels

Application Process

What is the application process like?

Starting in early 2017, candidates will have an opportunity to apply to join the Fellowship for the 2017-2018 school year. Educators who complete our interest form will be notified when the application opens. The first phase of the process is a written application that includes short-answer questions and a data upload that demonstrates success with students. We recognize that data is often very different based on the subject area and age taught, and we welcome a range of metrics to demonstrate student success for this section. 

Candidates who proceed to the second round of the process will be asked to interview over the phone. Finalists will be selected and notified in early June.

Do selected Fellows get a stipend?  

The Fellowship provides a competitive annual stipend. Additionally, we cover all expenses for our conferences, and any other travel you might participate in through work as a Fellow.

Do I have to be a current teacher or principal, and do I need to work in a public school?

Candidates must work in a public school, or a Pre-K that receives federal funds. Candidates must serve in student- and teacher-facing roles, and spend at least 50% of the school day with students or teachers, or serve full time as a school principal, dean or assistant principal. The Fellowship strongly encourages Fellows to remain in school-based, student-facing positions throughout their residency.

When can I apply?

The application to be selected as an Educator Voice Fellow will open in early 2017. The selection of next year's Fellows will be announced in June 2017.

I applied before but was not accepted. Can I reapply and is my application still valid?

Yes, you may reapply during the next recruitment cycle, however, we do not keep applicant information from year to year, and therefore you must reapply to the Fellowship.

Am I allowed to defer my acceptance into the Fellowship? 

No. Candidates that decline an offer of Fellowship may reapply for an opportunity to join a subsequent cohort.

Do I have to be nominated in order to apply?

Educators interested in applying to the Fellowship may do so without nomination.

How many years must I be an educator in order to be considered for the Fellowship?

There is no prerequisite of years as a teacher or school leader to be considered for the Fellowship. We believe that diversity in experience is important, and our Fellows have between 1-45 years of experience.


Characteristics of a Fellow

What are the characteristics we look for in our Fellows?

The Fellowship is seeking a diverse group of educators who: 

     - Have a positive effect on student outcomes                 - Are committed to advancing the profession

     - Demonstrate leadership                                                     - Possess strong communications skills

     - Are solutions-oriented                                                        - Have an interest in shaping education policy

     - Show respect and humility

Fellowship Experience

What policy issues are Fellows tackling?

We work with Fellows to analyze and identify the most pressing needs and greatest opportunities for impact in their states. Our current policy areas of focus include equity and access, academic standards and aligned assessments, and advancing the teaching profession. 

  • Promoting policies that ensure equity and access to a great education for all students by improving states’ accountability systems, ensuring a more equitable distribution of highly effective teachers, providing all students regardless of background an enriching preK-12 educational experience, and guaranteeing that all students can graduate with the credentials they need for success in college and career.
  • High-quality academic standards and aligned assessments with a focus on successfully implementing college- and career-ready standards for all students. This also includes working to ensure that state assessments are of quality and aligned with the state’s academic standards.
  • Advancing the teaching profession and building the capacity of educators. Policy issues may include improving teacher and principal evaluation measures and tools to help inform educators’ practice; professional development; establishing career pathways and formalized teacher leadership roles; compensation; and preparation and licensure programs to raise the quality and prestige of the teaching profession.

What kind of activities will I do through the Fellowship? 

We believe that part of the value of the Fellowship is our ability to help great educators learn how to become advocates for the long term. Fellows receive coaching and skills training to help them be successful in impacting policy and public conversation, and opportunities to connect with policymakers and thought leaders. With support, Fellows begin taking on opportunities to share their expertise, including advising policymakers, writing op-eds and policy briefs, learning to lead a social media campaign, and engaging with the media. Additionally, Fellows have access to a broad network of colleagues where they exchange thought-provoking reflections and innovative ideas.  

How much time and travel does the Fellowship require?

The Fellowship requires some travel, but most of the work can be done from home or school.  Fellows are required to attend bi-annual conferences, but as we recognize your commitment to your students, the Fellowship makes efforts to ensure that educators are missing as little school as possible. All expenses for Fellowship travel are covered. Fellows may participate in monthly virtual webinars to advance their work. 

How long is the Fellowship?

The Fellowship is a one-year residency with the possibility of being invited back for deeper policy work. 

What happens after my residency as a Fellow? 

The Fellowship is working to contribute to a national movement of educators, and we encourage ongoing involvement beyond the one year residency. Most Fellows choose to remain actively engaged in the Fellowship through diverse leadership roles, and an ongoing host of optional opportunities to continue to share their expertise to impact policy and public discourse.  

What are some examples of Fellows’ work? 

Since its inception in 2010, Fellows have been involved in educating and influencing policy makers and the public through advising opportunities, engaging with the media, and sharing their expertise with colleagues. Past Fellows have:

  • Traveled to the United States Department of Education to advise key leaders, including Secretaries John King and Arne Duncan, on issues of teacher evaluation and assessment policy, and advised on and engaged in initiatives including RESPECT and Teach To Lead. 
  • Worked on multiple policy issues, including the reauthorization of ESEA, and state and district level policy on various issues including teacher compensation, leadership, assessment, standards, and school funding.
  • Published their insights and recommendations with policy leaders and in media, including Education Week, Edutopia, the LA Times, Education Post, US News and World Report, and local publications like the Indianapolis Star and the Detroit Free Press.
  • Partnered with leading organizations to help design and disseminate tools and programs, including Student Achievement Partners, the College Board, Great Schools, TNTP, Teach Plus, The NEA Foundation, and various other education organizations.
  • Led state impact by creating parent education seminars, social media campaigns to educate the public on an issue, and educating and rallying their colleagues around a challenge in their city or state.