The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is excited to announce the recipients of the 2020–2021 Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship. The fellowship supports sustainability staff who are working as change agents at school districts across the country. The program will enable these outstanding, early-career K–12 sustainability leaders with access to a peer-to-peer network for sharing of best practices, professional development support, and leadership skill-building. By providing these individuals an opportunity to focus on their professional growth and technical capacity, together we can further our goals of achieving green schools for all students.
The 2020–2021 fellowship cohort represents over one million students, of whom 52% receive free and reduced lunch.
- Bailey Payne, Sustainability Specialist at Corvallis School District in Corvallis, Oregon
- Hannah Carter, Sustainability Coordinator at Parkway School District in Chesterfield, Missouri
- Kathleen Corradi, Zero Waste Manager at New York City Department of Education in New York, New York
- Derek Hunsaker, Garden and Sustainability Coordinator in Wahluke School District in Mattawa, Washington
- Naomi Stern, Green Facilities and Operations Analyst at San Mateo County Office of Education in Redwood City, California
These five leaders were selected because, even early in their careers, they are positioned to make transformational change in many areas of their school systems. The 2020 Fellows are committed to progressing policies, programs and practices to improve the efficiency and health of the more than 1000 buildings with which they work, as well as to connect sustainability topics in the classroom.
Some are engaged in districtwide energy conservation, zero waste and behavior change programs, while others are more deeply involved with environmental literacy and outdoor education campaigns. One common theme among this year’s cohort is their dedication to using the school building and grounds as a teaching tool for fostering sustainability awareness and teaching STEM topics.
Fellowship recipients, clockwise from top left: Naomi Stern, Bailey Payne, Kathleen Corradi, Derek Hunsaker, Hannah Carter.
The 2020–2021 fellows will work closely with USGBC, the Center for Green Schools and our partner organizations to learn about leadership and communication skills, share sustainable school best practices, and grow professionally. Although COVID-19 is preventing in-person travel to conferences, fellows will have the opportunity to attend virtual events, including the 2021 Green Schools Conference and Expo.
Fellows will also participate in targeted training sessions on courageous leadership, effective storytelling, equity and sustainability, and more. USGBC will provide fellows and their district staff access to several resources, including Learning Lab, the Green Classroom Professional Certificate, Arc, [email protected], and LEED Coaching for school building projects.
The events of this year have made it clear that a focus on health and sustainability has many benefits. We are proud to be working with a group of fellows who understand the important connections between efficiency, resilience, health and education, and are blazing the way for other districts on these topics. Congratulations to the 2020–2021 Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship recipients!