Fisher Fellowship - A yearlong training to be the best School Leader possible

At KIPP, we believe leadership is paramount to creating a great school environment for students, families, and staff. To ensure we have the best school leaders, KIPP invests heavily in professional development for its rising stars.

Amanda Markowitz, former KIPP North Star Academy science teacher, has been selected as one of 16 national Fisher Fellows in the highly selective year-long program for developing KIPP school founding principals. During the 10 weeks of residency, Ms. Markowitz spent time in high quality schools across the country including KIPP schools in Houston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis, as well as other charter management organizations such as Uncommon Schools and Harlem Success Academies. It was at these schools that she was able to observe excellence in instruction, use of relevant resources, and effective infrastructure. During cohort retreats, Ms. Markowitz participated in programming with other Fisher Fellows from across the country. Through these collaborative sessions, participants learned from their colleagues, shared resources, and networked. She has also been working to develop her School Design Plan - the playbook by which Ms. Markowitz will build her school including the mission of the school, the recruitment and development of talent, the culture, and sustainability. Through an iterative process, Ms. Markowitz refined her plan with the support and feedback of an experienced educator who opened her own successful KIPP school.

While Ms. Markowitz is benefiting immensely from the fellowship and focused support of the KIPP Foundation, she said the highlight of her Fellowship year has been meeting potential students and families locally as she conducts open houses and attends community events in an effort to recruit kindergartners for her school. “I am most looking forward to this fall when our team of kindergarten teachers kick off the school year and provide high quality instruction every single day!”

Charter schools receive federal funding for start-up, but the needs are always greater than the funding provided. Part of Ms. Markowitz’s vision for KIPP North Star Primary includes a library in each classroom and a school-wide lending library. She has amassed wish list of books for her entering kindergartens at where KIPP supporters are able to give the gift of reading to our newest and youngest KIPPsters. 

KIPP is unique in this preparation; no other charter organization provides/requires such an in-depth and comprehensive investment in the development of its leaders. We believe the education of our students is worth the time and money to dedicate an entire year for the sole purpose of establishing and refining the vision of the new school and the excellence of its leader.

The opening of KIPP North Star Primary is an important milestone for KIPP Minnesota. “After eight years serving 5th – 8th grade students we are ready for the next phase of growth and are anxious to welcome our incoming kindergartens,” Executive Director Alvin Abraham commented. “It has been an exciting journey as Amanda has grown and evolved with the conceptualization of her school. While we continue to miss her in the classroom, we are confident she will be an inspiring and impactful school leader.”

jamie scherle