US Department of Education Announces First Cohort of Principal Ambassador Fellows

Three school leaders will serve as Campus Principal Ambassador Fellows at the US Department of Education for the remainder of the 2013-14 school year. Although the principals will remain at their schools, they will serve as advisors to Secretary Arne Duncan and his staff and help ensure that the principal’s perspective is included in the creation and implementation of new federal policies and programs. The principals will also help develop the mission and goals for the Principal Ambassador Fellowship (PAF) program, which aims to have one principal work full-time at the Department during the 2014-15 school year.

“Each year I have the opportunity to visit schools and meet with leaders across the country who are committed to improving educational outcomes for our nation’s students,” said Secretary Duncan in a press release. “Principals are a linchpin in the effort to improve student success and raise achievement at any scale, and I look forward to working with the 2013 Principal Ambassador Fellows to continue a thoughtful conversation on the best ways to sustain and support school leaders for the long haul. Their firsthand knowledge of the challenges principals face will help shape policy and programs across the country to better prepare our nation’s children for college and career.”

After Department officials spent a day shadowing principals across the DC area during National Principals Month in October 2012, one of the participants highlighted the lack of principals’ voices in dialogues surrounding education policy at a debrief event with Secretary Arne Duncan.  The Secretary agreed with him, and then announced the creation of the PAF program at the 2013 NASSP Conference: Ignite in February 2013. NASSP spread the word about the PAF program to our members and encouraged all principals to apply, but we did not participate in the selection process of the three new Campus Principal Ambassador Fellows.


Sharif El-Mekki

Mastery Charter School-Shoemaker Campus

Philadelphia, PA


Jill Levine

Normal Park Museum Magnet

Chattanooga, TN


Rachel Skerritt

Eastern Senior High School

Washington, DC


The PAF program is meant to complement the Teacher Ambassador Fellowship program, which is now in its sixth year at the Department. For more information about the program, go to:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.