Gray Fellowship for Principal Excellence


The Gray Fellowship for Principal Excellence brings together 20 principals annually from across New York City public schools for a full year of transformative professional learning. The Fellowship is a cohort-based experience that develops self-knowledge, systems awareness, and provides continued support beyond the Fellowship. Through peer guidance and reflection, candidates impact each other, school communities, and larger systems with the goals of attaining higher student achievement, innovative cultures, and strong connections with the community.

Sponsored by Hunter College, The Fellowship program aims for the principal fellows to:

  • develop self-knowledge of strengths and areas for development as school leaders through the creation of a personal professional development action plan.
  • implement a transformative change initiative in their school communities that leads to improved outcomes such as student attendance and achievement, improved school culture, and stronger connections with the community.
  • graduate from the program prepared to improve education within their schools and across the city by understanding how school and community systems function interdependently.
  • form a network that provides continued support beyond the Fellowship.

The program is supported by the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) in requiring Fellows to attend a two-week summer institute and seven convening days during the school year and are approved professional development days and do not count against annual leave. Please be advised, the Program Leadership team will communicate with your superintendents about your schedule and program fit.


Eligible candidates must currently be in good standing and currently leading a school as an New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) principal with a minimum of three years experience. Please note that candidates in their third year as principal at the time of submission
may still apply.


Please respond to the following three questions and email responses as a .pdf file to

In your responses provide specific examples that speak to your leadership and school performance. Since the focus of the Gray Fellowship is transformative leadership with attention on three key areas: the transformation of self, the transformation of the school, the transformation of the larger ecosystem, please consider these three domains within your responses.

In addition, please include the following initialed statements:

  • I understand that I must be present at the two-week summer institute and attest that I will have 100% attendance.
  • I understand that I must be present to all 7 convening days and attest that I will have 100% attendance.

Question 1

  • The fellowship is designed to have you engage in deep self-reflective work including mindful leadership and peer to peer coaching. How might developing these practices shape your growth as a school leader?
  • Word limit: 300 to 500 words.

Question 2

  • One of the core components of the program has fellows work on a transformative school-based project that targets their leadership development while improving systems and outcomes at their schools. If you had to identify an area within your school to address right now, what might that be, and why? What specific changes do you hope to implement by the end of the fellowship that will impact student achievement?
  • Word limit: 300 to 500 words.

Question 3

  • Throughout the program, we will ask that fellows return to their personal growth and development as leaders. What specific aspects of your leadership do you hope to develop as a direct result of your full participation in this fellowship? What does transformational leadership look like to you?
  • Word limit: 300 to 500 words.

Application Deadline

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until Monday, May 1, 2023.

Summer Institute

Week 1

  • Principals Leadership Retreat in the Catskills
  • Honor’s Haven: Ellenville, NY
  • July 17, 2023 to July 21, 2023

Week 2

  • Transformative/systems Change with the Presencing Institute
  • The Roosevelt House-Hunter College:
  • July 24, 2023 to July 28, 2023

Convening Days

  • Convening 1: October 2, 2023, 8 am to 4 pm
  • Convening 2: two half day (8 am to 12 pm) intervisitations with teams
    • Part I: Visit between October and November
    • Part II: Visit between February and March
  • Convening 3: November 6, 2023, 8 am to 4 pm
  • Convening 4: December 18, 2023, 8 am to 4 pm
  • Convening 5: February 5, 2024, 8 am to 4 pm
  • Convening 6: March 4, 2024, 8 am to 4 pm
  • Convening 7: April 8, 2024, one-day Retreat


Gray Fellows Events