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 NYC Department of Education in requiring Fellows to attend a two-week summer institute and seven convening days during the school year. Please be advised, the Program Leadership team will communicate with your superintendents about your schedule and program fit.

Summer Institute

The Summer Institute will move to an online platform. The objective of the move is to keep participants and facilitators safe in accordance with  Hunter College policies, as well as State and Federal mandates.

July 27 – July 29, 2020

  • Principals Leadership Retreat (online)

August 3 – August 7, 2020

  • Transformative/systems Change with the Presencing Institute (online)

Convening Days

While the dates have yet to be determined, convenings typically take place on Mondays from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. with a two day off-site planned mid-year.


Eligible candidates must currently be in good standing and currently leading a school as a New York City Department of Education 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 Sean Banks at by Monday, June 15, 2020. 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: transformation of self, transformation of school, transformation of the broader ecosystem, please consider these three domains within your responses.

Word limit: 300-500 for each section.

  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?
  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?
  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?

Include the following two statements on your application and initial them to indicate your understanding.

  • 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.

Application Deadline

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The deadline has been extended to June 15th.


Sean Banks, Program Manager