Walter J. Crain Fellowship Aims to Enhance Diversity in Independent School Leadership

Hotchkiss and the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University recently announced the continuation of the Walter J. Crain Fellowship, which was launched in 2021 with a $1 million commitment from Hotchkiss. Applications are now being accepted for this immersive, four-year fellowship that offers participants the opportunity to prepare for a future in independent school leadership while working at Hotchkiss and earning a master’s degree in private school leadership.

The Fellowship is geared toward professionals who aspire to leadership roles at independent schools, have demonstrated a commitment to working with diverse populations, and who are effective at supporting an inclusive learning community for all students. Selected fellows will hold a salaried teaching or administrative position at Hotchkiss, earn a master’s degree in private school leadership (upon acceptance by the Klingenstein Center at Teacher's College), and benefit from robust mentoring –– all at no cost to them.

Applicants interested in the Walter J. Crain Fellowship can find more information and apply here:

Kinyette Henderson, inaugural fellow, talks with students in the Multicultural Center.

A Successful First Year

“Hotchkiss is doing a great job asking questions and getting many different people at the table to engage in conversations about equity. The Walter J. Crain Fellowship intentionally welcomes people with outside perspectives into the community,” said Kinyette Henderson, instructor in English, assistant director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Hotchkiss, and an inaugural fellow. 

Inaugural fellow Claudia McGuigan, who serves as associate director of faculty recruitment and instructor in mathematics, added, “I am excited to be part of a leading-edge program that is dedicated to identifying, developing, and promoting diverse talent. The opportunity to further our learning, both formally through the Klingenstein Center and informally through access to seasoned senior leaders, is incredibly valuable. Additionally, I am looking forward to the prospect of giving back and mentoring future fellows."

The Klingenstein Center’s Master's Degree Program in Private School Leadership is designed to build the knowledge, skills, and mindset essential to authentic, thoughtful school leadership. Upon acceptance, fellows will engage in a rigorous academic program that balances the practical and theoretical aspects of school leadership. The program draws on a rich ecosystem of Teachers College, Columbia University and New York City, through which alumni lend their experience as guest speakers, sponsors of student research projects, and mentors.

We could not be more enthusiastic about this program as we enter the second year. The fellowship is in keeping with our commitment to creating an environment in which all students thrive, and it positions Hotchkiss to help create opportunities for diverse leadership at private schools more broadly,” said Head of School Craig Bradley.  

“The Walter J. Crain fellowship is an important partnership that enacts the Center's commitment to diversify the leadership pipeline in independent and international schools. Our hope is that more schools will join us to create a consortium of schools that allow for a broader spectrum of emerging school leaders to benefit from such a dynamic professional learning experience. Together, we can deeply diversify leadership throughout our schools and build leadership capacity to lead more equitable and inclusive schools in which all persons thrive," said Nicole Furlonge, Klingenstein Family Chair Professor of Practice and Director of the Klingenstein Center. 

Further demonstrating this partnership, Hotchkiss will begin serving as host of the Klingenstein Summer Institute for Early-Career Teachers this year. This is a fully-funded two-week program for teachers to explore teaching styles, educational philosophies, and issues facing independent schools. 

The Walter J. Crain Fellowship is named for Hotchkiss’s first Black member of faculty. Walter J. Crain P'86,'89 (d. 2017) served as a beloved teacher, coach, and dean of students during a 33-year career with the School. In joining Hotchkiss in 1970, he initiated a long and ongoing journey toward meaningful inclusion and belonging for all students, faculty, and staff at the School. The Fellowship will serve as a lasting tribute to his legacy.

About The Klingenstein Center

The Klingenstein Center is dedicated to improving the quality of independent and international school education by developing and strengthening leadership among teachers and administrators from schools in the U.S. and throughout the world. Founded in 1977, the Klingenstein Center is the first university-based program dedicated to developing independent schools. The Klingenstein Center is a part of Teachers College, Columbia University, the oldest and largest graduate school of education in the United States. 




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