Apply for a K-12 Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship

Published on: 
7 Jul 2021
Phoebe Beierle

Sustainability professionals working for change in K–12 schools are important assets to our communities. These leaders improve both the operating conditions of school building and the teaching and learning experience each day, resulting in more environmentally, economically and socially resilient communities. It is common, however, for these professionals to lack supportive networks, access to best practice resources, and the time or funding to develop their own leadership skills.

The Center for Green Schools at USGBC designed the Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship program to support these influential champions. The fellowship will enable outstanding, K–12 sustainability staff access to a peer-to-peer network, plus professional development, and targeted education and technical support. By providing these individuals with an opportunity to build leadership skills and technical capacity, we can further our goals of achieving green schools for all students.

Throughout their fellowship year, Leaders in Sustainability Fellows will:

  • Collaborate as a team to share and learn about sustainability best practices
  • Participate in professionally led trainings on the topics of communications, social equity and whole-school sustainability
  • Develop new leadership skills by reading and reflecting on various texts
  • Attend professional events such as the Center for Green Schools' annual School Sustainability Leaders’ Summit and Green Schools Conference and Expo
  • Receive sustainability management support and coaching

The 2021–2022 Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship application is open through Aug. 13, 2021.

Benefits of the fellowship

The Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship is a yearlong position for existing sustainability staff. The fellowship is unpaid, but fellows will receive the following in-kind benefits. We anticipate professional development trainings and conferences will be in person, but because of COVID this may change.

Minimum requirements

The Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship is available to early and mid-career K–12 staff based in North America, who are dedicated to carrying out sustainability programs and policies. Candidates must spend at least 50% of their time on sustainability-related efforts and must have fewer than ten years of experience in their role. To determine if staff time is currently dedicated to sustainability, follow the definition of green schools described in the “three pillars”: reduced environmental impact, positive impact on student and teacher health, and improved environmental literacy.

Active members and nonmembers of the School Sustainability Leaders Network are welcome to apply, although involvement with the Network will be viewed favorably. Applicants from private schools are encouraged to apply, but you must be able to show that you are leading sustainability programs at the system level, versus just the individual school level.

The application includes a required signed letter from school district leadership. The fellow must gain approval from their employer to participate in the program, including a commitment to support the following:

  1. The fellow will spend at least 50% of their time on sustainability-related initiatives during the fellowship year.
  2. The fellow will dedicate time to participating in professional and leadership development programs (approximately three hours per month).
  3. The fellow will be supported and have the time to travel to two in-person events, one in December 2021 and the other in spring 2022.

Learn more and apply

The 2021–2022 Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship application is open through Friday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. ET. Keep in mind that the application does require a signed letter of support from your supervisor or school district leadership.

The five fellows will be announced in September, and the program will begin at the end of October. An in-person training and cohort kick-off will take place in Washington, D.C., Dec. 2–3. The fellowship will last a year from the start date.

Note that from 2010 to 2016, the Center for Green Schools ran a Green Schools Fellowship program that supported the formation of new, full-time, district-level sustainability positions. The Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship as described above is a different program, supporting existing staff in school systems across the country.

Contact us if you have questions or want to learn more about the Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship.

Apply for the 2021–22 Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship