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

This year’s Summer Institute will feature a new hybrid format. Week one will be a principals’ leadership retreat hosted at Honor’s Haven, while week two will be delivered remotely via Zoom. The new format’s objective is to prepare fellows for reintegration into the workplace and allow them to build bonds in a safe and welcoming environment in accordance with Hunter College policies, as well as State and Federal mandates.

July 19 – July 23, 2021

  • Principals Leadership Retreat at Honor’s Haven: Off-site in Sullivan County, NY

July 26 – July 30, 2021

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

Convening Days

While the dates have yet to be determined, convenings typically occur on Mondays from 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. with a two-day off-site retreat planned mid-year.

Fellows must attend all scheduled dates to participate in the program.


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.

Gray Fellowship Application

Please respond to the following three questions and email responses as a .pdf file to Sean Banks at by Saturday, May 15th, 2021. 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 broader ecosystem, please consider these three domains within your responses.

Word limit: 300-500 for each section.

  1. One of the program’s core components has fellows work on a transformative school-based project that targets their leadership development while improving positive outcomes for all students. 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 to impact student achievement? Please include all data baselines for areas you wish to transform (i.e., attendance, graduation rates, test scores). You may provide further written context around any of the data points.
  2. 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, and what impact would this have on your school community?
  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?

Application Deadline

  • Saturday, May 15th, 2021