Chicago Principals Fellowship

The Chicago Principals Fellowship is a 12-month program that will serve the top 10 percent of Chicago’s public school principals by the end of the 2016-17 school year.

With an annual cohort of 20 to 25 principals, the Fellowship represents a new strand of executive leadership development, designed for and with Chicago’s most talented principals. The Fellowship is a partnership between Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Northwestern University, and is supported by an investment from The Fund and the Crown Family.

Fellows participate in a rigorous executive leadership program provided by the Center for Nonprofit Management at Kellogg and the School for Education and Social Policy, both at Northwestern. They will also receive a 360-degree evaluation, executive coaching and the opportunity to represent Chicago at regional and national education conferences. To participate, all Principal Fellows commit to continuing to lead in CPS for at least three years.

The inaugural Chicago Principals Fellowship cohort represents a variety of public schools in Chicago. A large majority of the principals lead schools with a student population that is both predominantly low-income and minority. Together, they serve more than 14,000 students across the city. The second cohort reflects a similar mix and breadth of schools.

The Fund is investing in the Chicago Principals Fellowship with the goal of supporting 60 of Chicago’s top public school principals over three years – and, ultimately, retaining our best principals by creating the best training, recruitment, in-role development opportunities in the nation. The Chicago Principals Fellowship will impact not only our school leaders, but Chicago’s students, teachers, families and communities for years to come.


To date, the Fellowship has served 66 district and charter principals through three cohorts; it will serve an additional 30 principals for the fourth cohort. To date, 80.5 percent of Cohort 1 and 2 Fellows, and 100 percent of Cohort 3 Fellows, remain in their principal roles.