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The Cahn Fellows Program

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The Cahn Fellows Program accepts applications for Cahn Fellowships on an annual basis from public school principals, including principals of charter schools, working in New York City, Chicago and Newark schools. Each year, approximately 10 percent of all New York City, Chicago and Newark principals are invited to apply for a Cahn Fellowship based on their accomplishments to date in the principalship.

Principals with three or more years of experience and a track record of success can be nominated for a Cahn Fellowship.


When reviewing an applicant's candidacy, the Program emphasizes the following selection criteria:

  • Personal commitment to providing an excellent education to all public school students
  • Evidence of effective leadership as demonstrated by growth or consistently high levels of student achievement
  • Leadership qualities including intellectual curiosity, resourcefulness, collaboration skills, mentoring skills, creativity, and self-awareness
  • History of professional accomplishments

The Committee also considers the following school-wide factors:

  • School-site indicators including, where applicable, four-year outcomes on graduation and dropout rates, attendance rates, and teacher turnover rates
  • School demographics of applicant schools including student poverty levels, English language learner populations, and special education populations.

Annually, less than 2 percent of public school principals are invited to receive a Cahn Fellowship.

On Leadership

'Good leaders are passionate about their work. Through their styles differ, there are many common elements - strong beliefs, integrity, good people skills, thirst for knowledge, and willingness to learn. High energy helps too!' --Cahn Fellow Principal

'Leadership is not so much about the duties you perform as it is about the people you serve.' --Cahn Fellow Principal