Director of Teaching Fellows Programming

Brooklyn, New York
May 03, 2019
Job Type

The Ascend Teaching Fellowship


Ascend's Teaching Fellowship aims to attract hundreds of highly ambitious, intellectually curious aspiring teachers from America's top liberal arts colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Ivy League colleges, and selective public universities and honors programs to join us in building a new generation of outstanding urban public schools.


As McKinsey has reported, the highest achieving nations in the world staff their schools exclusively with individuals from the top one-third of their academic cohorts. By contrast, just 14 percent of new teachers in America's high poverty schools come from the top third of their class. This hiring approach creates immense practical challenges to offering an excellent education to the children who need it most. Ascend aims to pilot an entirely new model that staffs its schools with intellectually outstanding new teachers who can ignite a passion for learning among our students and propel them to and through selective admission colleges.


Our largest strategic project for recruiting and developing outstanding talent is the Ascend Teaching Fellowship. The Fellowship will draw high performing students from a growing set of university partners and that prepare them to be exceptional new teachers in Ascend's network of charter schools in Brooklyn, New York.


The program, which launched with a small cohort of fellows in school year 2017-2018, now has two different tracks: the graduate fellowship and the summer fellowship. Graduate Teaching Fellows will be placed at one of our schools and in the first year, learn effective teaching techniques from an Ascend mentor teacher while taking classes towards a master's degree at Relay Graduate School of Education. In the second year of the fellowship, the Teaching Fellow will teach full time as a lead teacher and earn a Master's of Arts in Education and teaching certification from Relay Graduate School of Education. Summer Fellows will learn effective teaching techniques from an Ascend mentor teacher during our summer program and are eligible to receive an offer upon graduation (for junior fellows) or for the upcoming school year (senior fellows).


The position of director of the teaching fellows programming affords a rare opportunity to imagine, craft, and manage the programming for a new program that is critical to the success of our urban charter network. Reporting directly to Ascend's managing director of leadership development and working closely with the Schools team, the director will be responsible for conceiving and executing a rigorous and competitive program that is unique in the sector and aims to scale to recruit one quarter of Ascend's new teachers—an average of 100 new fellows each year over the next five years.


The director will design and facilitate professional development workshops for mentor teachers and teaching fellows. The director will facilitate information sessions for Ascend school directors and deans to keep them informed about important design aspects of the fellowship programs, conduct regular site visits to campuses that host teaching fellows and provide coaching supports for mentor teachers and fellows, and establish strong working rapport with school leadership teams in order to ensure high quality development of all mentor teachers and teaching fellows. The director will manage and lead the summer school project plan and support summer school sites during operation.


For this critical role, we seek a charismatic, engaging, and enterprising leader who is committed to intellectual excellence and to developing novice teachers and emerging leaders. We look for an individual who has the sophisticated vision and competitive ethos to imagine a bold and compelling value proposition for the Ascend Teaching Fellowship Program and who can market that vision deliberately and successfully to everyone within the Ascend community—including both schools and network. We seek a candidate who has a hunger for feedback, values and invests in peers and the Ascend community, and desires to engage in an ongoing process of reflection and growth. Above all, we look for an individual who is passionate and committed to urban education, to liberal arts education, and to our ultimate goal of closing the achievement gap in Brooklyn.


The director will report to the managing director of leadership development, and will collaborate closely with senior management, managing directors of schools, members of the schools team, members of the talent team, school directors, deans, mentor teachers, and teaching fellows.


This role has the following responsibilities:

Program design

  • Develop a sophisticated, detailed five-year plan and vision for the growth and development of programming
  • Create a comprehensive scope and sequence for teaching fellows training that is aligned to all programmatic elements and structures at Ascend schools


  • Interview, cultivate, hire and retain mentor teachers and teaching fellows
  • Collaborate with the director of recruitment and the talent team to host demo lessons within the Ascend summer schools
  • Complete references for mentor teachers and teaching fellows as requested by talent team


  • Create and facilitate trainings for teaching fellows and mentor teachers, in partnership with the managing director of leadership development and summer school directors
  • Attend Relay's Deliberate Practice sessions with graduate teaching fellows
  • Support all leadership trainings run by the schools and curriculum teams as needed and assigned by the managing director of leadership development

Coaching mentor teachers and summer school leaders

  • Provide high-quality coaching to Ascend mentor teachers on coaching of teaching fellows
  • Provide high-quality coaching to teaching fellows as needed
  • Provide high quality coaching to Ascend Summer School Directors as needed and assigned by the managing director of leadership development
  • Support mentor teachers to meet Relay Graduate School of Education grading requirements for teaching fellows

Mentoring of fellows

  • Plan and lead orientation sessions for teaching fellows
  • Plan and lead regular cohort building experiences for teaching fellows
  • Be available to teaching fellows throughout their fellowship as a mentor and advisor
  • Regularly observe teaching fellows in classrooms
  • Support teaching fellows to meet Relay Graduate School of Education requirements associated with graduate degree
  • Support fellows' transition into the role of full-time teacher
  • Develop ambassador program to strengthen Teaching Fellowship alumni contributions to future teaching fellow development

School management

  • Develop and manage the budget for the Teaching Fellowship Program to ensure its success
  • Effectively manage all aspects of the Ascend Summer School project plan, including scheduling, planning, and leading team meeting for representatives from talent, operations, and schools team
  • Develop and implement multiple feedback mechanisms from various stakeholders to continuously improve the program


  • Develop and maintain successful partnerships with school directors, deans, mentors and Ascend staff
  • Effectively onboard new school leaders to all aspects of Ascend teaching fellows programming
  • Act as ambassador of the Teaching Fellowship Program within Ascend, to all audiences, and specifically to mentor teachers
  • Manage the relationship with Relay Graduate School of Education Director of Residency, and monitor each fellow's progress towards a Master's degree


  • Bachelor's degree required; master's degree preferred
  • At least 2 years of experience in an urban school setting
  • Experience developing a longterm strategic plan in an educational setting
  • Previous charter school instructional leadership experience strongly preferred
  • School leadership experience at the dean/assistant principal required, and experience as principal strongly preferred

The director of teaching fellowship recruitment must demonstrate:

  • Ability to coach emerging leaders and teachers, leading them to mastery on emerging skills
  • Passion and commitment to urban education and our ultimate goal of closing the achievement gap
  • Commitment to the Ascend educational mission of providing a rigorous liberal arts education to all students
  • Proven ability to form strong, trusting relationships with school and network partners, teachers, leaders, and candidates
  • Relentless drive to set ambitious goals with high expectations, especially for teaching excellence, and achieve those goals
  • Desire to operate in an entrepreneurial setting and a willingness to do whatever it takes to produce excellent outcomes
  • Keen insight and strategic mindset for designing and executing a high quality development experience for mentor teachers and teaching fellows
  • Superb organizational and self-management skills and the ability to handle multiple responsibilities effectively and flexibly; strong planning and execution skills; effective problem-solving skills
  • Ability to proceed in the absence of clear and immediate answers to problems
  • Excellent collaborative and communication skills
  • Hunger for feedback and an openness to engage in a process of self-improvement
  • Energy and charisma needed to build a sense of community and fellowship
  • Desire to operate in an entrepreneurial setting and a willingness to do whatever it takes to produce excellent outcomes
  • Commitment to transparency in all dealings, exacting ethical standards at all times, and a sensitivity to the level of scrutiny to which Ascend and its schools are subject, as recipients of public funds
  • Detail-orientation; ability to manage logistics across various locations and events

Diversity at Ascend


Ascend is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community, both through our hiring practices and our focus on creating a culture and environment where diverse perspectives, ideas, and identities are valued and integrated into our way of working and educating students. Ascend staff represent a wide diversity of racial, socio-economic, gender, religious, and national identities—opening a window to the entire Ascend community on the richness of humanity. We welcome all applicants who share our mission and vision to join us in our deeply consequential work.




Ascend offers a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits

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