More than 100 Principals Strong, the Neubauer Fellowship in Educational Leadership Drives Systemic Change for Philadelphia’s Schools and Students

The Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders (School Leaders) today announced its fifth cohort of Neubauer Fellows in Educational Leadership (Neubauer Fellows), along with the measurable results that Fellows achieve in their schools and across the city. The nonprofit organization invests in leaders as the catalyst to improve schools and close achievement gaps. By July 2019, the organization will reach nearly one-third of all Philadelphia principals and serve over 65,000 students, exceeding its initial goal of serving 100 city principals and more than 60,000 students by 2020.

Recognizing that the single most important factor driving student success is educator quality, the Neubauer Fellowship identifies high-potential principals across district, charter, and faith-based schools and provides them with relevant, actionable leadership training to improve student outcomes. The immersive two-year program deepens principals’ capacity to lead and provides practical solutions to multi-faceted challenges. Neubauer Fellows join a network of exceptional peers who support one another, collaborate, and share expertise.

Across the city, Neubauer Fellows transform schools and impact student outcomes. Schools led by Neubauer Fellows achieved higher overall performance and growth on the most recent School Progress Reports, with Fellows leading 80 percent (4 of 5) of the top-performing schools in the city and driving greater progress in student achievement.

“In order to build a world-class education system in Philadelphia, we must recognize principals as the CEOs of their schools,” said Joseph Neubauer, Trustee, Neubauer Family Foundation. “The Neubauer Fellowship prepares principals to articulate a clear vision, galvanize their teams to realize that vision, and solve problems creatively. Working with our school district, charter, and faith-based partners, we are making measurable, sustainable progress. In surpassing this milestone of 100 Fellows, we reach the critical mass needed to drive change – not only for today’s students, but for the Philadelphia of tomorrow.”

Over the last three years, five of seven Blue Ribbon Schools in Philadelphia were led by Neubauer Fellows and over the past two years, Neubauer Fellows received 9 of 14 Lindback Awards for Distinguished Principal Leadership. Furthermore, seven Fellows earned promotions to system-level leadership roles (e.g., assistant superintendent, charter CEO). Neubauer Fellows demonstrate commitment to staying and serving students in Philadelphia, with 94 percent of Neubauer Fellows remaining in educational leadership positions in the city, compared to the 76 percent average retention rate for Philadelphia principals.

“One of the most effective ways we can inspire positive change in education is through strong leadership at the school level,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. “The Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders gives dedicated principals the toolkit to drive student achievement, faculty satisfaction, and parental involvement.”

Over five cohorts, the Neubauer Fellowship has served 78 district, 22 charter, and 9 faith-based schools. The fifth cohort of outstanding principals reflects the diversity of our city, comprised of 62 percent people of color and 70 percent women. A full list of the fifth cohort of Neubauer Fellows may be found via this link.

“Great schools do not exist without great leaders,” said Tracy Breslin, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders. “Each principal selected for the fifth cohort of Neubauer Fellows has a proven track record of driving results for students. Through the Fellowship, these principals will strengthen their skills to make an even greater impact in their schools and city. As the Fellowship continues to grow, more Philadelphia families will have access to high-performing schools that prepare all students for college, career, and life.”

Neubauer Fellows receive best-in-class development focused on effective strategies and tools that participants can implement immediately to drive results. This includes an intensive Summer Institute; ongoing professional development sessions to sharpen personal, organizational, and instructional leadership skills; intimate “Dinners with Decision Makers” to connect with prominent business and civic leaders who also face complex leadership challenges; and opportunities to host and visit other Fellows’ schools to see leadership in action. Coursework covers a range of topics, including strategic planning, vision and goals, talent management, and data-driven decision making. 

For more information about the Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders and the Neubauer Fellowship, please visit or follow the organization on Twitter and join the conversation using #MyFellowLeaders. The full list of the fifth cohort of Neubauer Fellows may be found via this link.


About the Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders:

The Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders (School Leaders) is a nonprofit organization created with the belief that in order for Philadelphia to reach its fullest potential, our city must offer and deliver compelling educational opportunities for all of its 215,000 students.  Recognizing that leadership is the catalyst for change and closing achievement gaps, School Leaders was established in 2015 to serve as a critical partner and cross-sector leadership development resource in the city of Philadelphia. School Leaders trains and supports principals and school system leaders across district, charter, and faith-based schools in Philadelphia. The organization’s results-driven, evidence-based approach provides leaders with the necessary tools, skills, and networks to elevate their performance and improve school and student outcomes. School Leaders offers multiple programs to support talented educators at all levels of their careers – from teacher to principal to school system leader.

About the Neubauer Fellowship in Educational Leadership:

The Neubauer Fellowship in Educational Leadership (the Fellowship), School Leaders’ flagship program, identifies the city’s effective principals in district, charter, and faith-based schools and elevates their performance by developing the leadership skills vital to improving student outcomes. Using a unique cross-sector, cohort-based approach, Fellows build deep relationships with a network of outstanding peers who share expertise and resources.  Local and national practitioners, authors, and researchers facilitate a curriculum that supports Fellows to produce measurable, meaningful results. The Fellowship is competitive and selective: the rigorous competency-based selection process includes an application, interviews, instructional analysis, data reviews, and school visits. By July 2019, the organization will reach 109 Philadelphia principals and system leaders and serve over 65,000 students.