New Mexico’s Public Education Department is partnering with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation to create a new MBA school leadership program for aspiring school principals and superintendents at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University.

The Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership blends transformational education coursework and a tailored business curriculum with intensive clinical experience in schools, corporations, and not-for-profit organizations, as well as involvement with innovative schools abroad.

One of the first programs of its kind, the Woodrow Wilson program is a model for next generation, results-focused school leader preparation.

“To close our nation’s achievement gaps – whether between school districts, states, or the United States and the world – we need more than just excellent teachers in our classrooms. We also need superb school leaders supporting those educators and building an environment that produces high student achievement,” Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine said.

“Today, too many of our nation’s education programs fail to prepare prospective school leaders for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st-century school. They lack the rigor, relevance, selectivity, and clinical experience school leaders require to thrive. The Woodrow Wilson MBA program is specifically designed to provide a new generation of school leaders, equipped to transform our schools into high performers,” he added.

“Effective teachers and school leaders are critical to providing our kids with the education they deserve,” New Mexico Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera said. “This program allows districts to pick their brightest stars and encourage them to take their career to the next level: leading a school.”

Under the Woodrow Wilson model, fellows take 18-24 months of MBA courses with a specific focus on the education context.

The program is designed to prepare leaders who will drive innovation, expand the use of analytics and evidence-based practices, raise student performance to international standards, and improve the quality of school systems and teaching over time.

The Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship is intended for education professionals nominated by their school districts or charter school leaders.

The school systems will partner with participating universities to establish internal pipelines and cultivate new leaders. Individuals are selected have demonstrated effective leadership and are expected to use their knowledge of school culture to help transform schools from within.

Fellows will receive a stipend, which covers full tuition, materials and associated program expenses. In exchange, each fellow agrees to serve in an approved school or district leadership role within the state for at least three years, with foundation-supported mentoring.

“New Mexico’s schools face enormous challenges, yet exceptional school leaders find ways to deliver excellent educational opportunities to our children,” said Craig White, Interim Dean of UNM’s Anderson School of Management.

“We at the Anderson School look forward to working with the state’s public education department, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, school districts, and UNM’s College of Education to provide these leaders the management skills necessary to fully maximize the outcomes from their efforts.  It is exciting to be at the forefront of this new MBA program.”

“New Mexico State University has been working closely with school districts in southern New Mexico as we craft this innovative program,” said Steven Elias, director of NMSU's Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship Program and interim associate dean for research in the NMSU College of Business.

“By engaging with the education community throughout the process, we’ve been able to understand the unique challenges for educators in this region and develop a business curriculum that will help these professionals think more strategically about how they run their schools and districts."

Funding for the Woodrow Wilson MBA’s New Mexico initiative was initially provided by a grant from the New Mexico Public Education Department. Levine thanked the Daniels Fund for seeing the promise the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship offers to New Mexico schools and school leaders and for awarding the program a $2.112 million grant to expand the number of individuals in the MBA Fellowship program in the state.

Both UNM and NMSU are partnering with a variety of area school districts and charter schools to develop partnerships that will sustain clinical placements–or in-school learning arrangements–and mentoring opportunities for the WW MBA Fellows.

The inaugural class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows at NMSU was announced today. Educators selected for the highly competitive program include:

Vangie Barela, Valley View Elementary School
Estella Becerra, Gadsden Independent School District 
Torrance Gilpin, Gadsden Independent School District
Toni Hull, Mesa Middle School
Gabriel Jacquez, Mesa Middle School
Colette Martinez, Las Cruces Public Schools
Wendi Miller-Tomlinson, Las Cruces Public Schools
Latisha Montoya, Sonoma Elementary School
Frederick Parker, Hillrise Elementary School
Amber Perry, Hatch Valley Middle School
Lydia Polanco, Las Cruces Public Schools

The first class of WW MBA Fellows at UNM will be announced later this summer.

The WW MBA in Education Leadership draws on the foundation’s experience with its state teaching fellowship, which recruits very able candidates to teach math and science in high-need schools, and also works to transform teacher education.

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship is currently offered in five states–Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio–through 28 partner universities.

Applications to the WW MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership are available by nomination only, with nominations and applications for the first class now open.

Learn more about the WW MBA in Education Leadership.