Becoming Better Together

TSDN Fellows participate in a comprehensive, two-year program in which they develop and practice the skills they need to build better schools, create a sense of community and enhance their own leadership abilities.

Fellows will explore existing models and lessons learned from best-in-class models nationwide. They will strengthen their new school design knowledge, grounded in an evidence-based approach, as they integrate into their specific school communities.


Every community deserves schools that are responsive and adaptable to their unique needs. TSDN is designed to help realize these goals.Strong candidates for the program will come from multiple sources, including school district or charter management organization (CMO) recommendation or proposed free-standing charter schools. Interested candidates may also apply directly.

Once your application is completed, CMO or school district representatives will be identified to participate along-side fellowship staff in the selection process. A multi-step selection process will provide candidates with opportunities to share their past experiences and performance as well as to demonstrate their current understanding and embodiment of the qualities identified as success markers for effective founding school leaders.

Final selection decisions will be made collaboratively between fellowship and district/CMO liaisons.


Photo of Fellows

The following qualities are vital to the success of a founding school leader. The selection process is designed to illuminate the degree to which each candidate demonstrates experience or expertise regarding these qualities:

  • Learning Orientation - level of investment in self-development and openness to learning
  • Feedback Orientation - ability to receive and act on feedback constructively
  • Equity Orientation - sincere, active commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • People Orientation - ability to connect positively with others in various situations
  • Distributive Leadership - humility and ability to maximize the team contributions
  • Open-mindedness - authentic willingness to explore new ideas and perspectives
  • Communication - clarity and professionalism of written and oral communication
  • Exposure to Excellence - track record in settings with high standards for performance
  • Instructional Orientation - ability to recognize and support effective learning and teaching

Download application here



July 2019 - The inaugural fellows of Trinity University’s School Design Network begin the program
Mid-June 2020 - Fellows complete the fellowship portion of the program
Mid-August 2020 - Fellows complete the school launch boot camp
August 2020 - Schools open

The curriculum’s three main areas are tied to the school design matrix, an evidence-based set of principles and practices which will help all school leaders refine their school model aligned to their vision and mission.


Foundational Training

  • Design Thinking
  • System Thinking
  • Community Asset Mapping
  • Power Mapping
  • Targeted School and Business / Industry Visits


School Development

  • Vision and Mission
  • School Culture Building
  • Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Models
  • Values-Aligned Operational Design
  • Values-Aligned Budgeting and Staffing
  • School Governance (including autonomies)
  • Technology to Support Learning
  • Autonomies and Voice (for students, teachers, families, leaders)


Leadership Development

  • Leadership Models
  • Change Leadership
  • Communication Skills
  • Authentic Family and Community Engagement
  • Personal Leadership Coaching and Support


TSDN will work closely with City Education Partners (CEP) who is also launching an incubator program.
Please see: