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The Manati Fellowship Program

Placing leaders of color on a

trajectory of success and scale

Manati is a fellowship program designed to support single-site charter school leaders in acquiring the necessary skills for sustaining and growing their school. Manati–the Swahili word for catapult–is representative of our goal to provide leaders with the resources to grow in both performance and scale to support student success.
This 18-month program will center on creating a peer community of school leaders of color who will connect and collaborate on pressing issues faced as single-site schools, develop shareable scalable solutions to those problems with best in class subject matter experts and service providers, pilot and iterate on those designs in real time during the school year, and capture processes and lessons learned so that these solutions can be scaled across the broader network of National Charter Collaborative.


In addition to collaborative design, Fellows will participate in conversations and coursework to develop more as leaders. This module will include tailored conversations on authentic leadership, group coaching and elective individualized coaching. The leadership development module will supplement the fellows’ collaborative work and will round out the fellowship experience.


The fellowship is designed to support a cohort of leaders in advancing the performance and outcomes of their schools with the broader goal of increasing the impact of their efforts to serve more students through growth and expansion.
Why a Fellowship?
Single-site charter school leaders work in isolation without the benefit of supports. For single-site leaders of color, the challenge is even more pronounced due to a lack of access to a network, resources and funding. Specifically, our research demonstrates a need for support in five key areas:


• Fundraising
• Teacher talent development
• Student academic and behavioral supports
• Finance and operations
• Innovation


The need for supports in the above core areas combined with the opportunity to employ the network effect to create solutions that can be shared across multiple schools creates the optimal environment for a fellowship program.


Manati is an opportunity to not only support leaders in acquiring skills to better manage sustainable single-site schools, but also to engage them in co-creating solutions to unique problems of practice and build plans for scale.
Program Components
The series of sessions on commUNITY will focus on building relational trust and what it looks like to lead authentically as a person of color. We will focus acutely on our lived experiences, the skin we are in, and how each of these things impacts how we lead.


In the collaborative design studio, we will combine elements of the problem-solving methodologies of the equityXdesign framework, the Stanford d.School’s Design Process as well as Digital Promise’s school district collaborative design model. By combining the design process with the fellows’ peer community, and the NCC Expert Web, we will create a one-of-a-kind design experience. Manati Fellows will be responsible for crafting a solution to the shared problem of practice; an implementation plan for this solution within their individual schools; and a scaling strategy for the solution, either through an established program at the school, or a replication plan for the entire school.


The leadership development module is comprised of two components: personalized coaching and business and operations coursework. We will administer our proprietary NCC School Leadership Assessment to identify the areas of most need for each Fellow.


In addition, we will work with each leader individually to assess opportunities for growth and expansion to serve more students. Each leader will develop a plan that considers supports and resources that will enable scaling their work.
Program Experience
Throughout the program year, Manati Fellows will foster a peer-to-peer community of trust, engage with top notch service providers and leadership coaches, and design a solution to a shared problem of practice. In order to deliver on this ambitious plan, Manati will offer a host of experiences:


Quarterly Program Retreats: Quarterly program retreats will include a mix of cohort discussions, problem-solving consultancies, article and book discussions, conversations with other leaders, and design workshops. Prior to the retreat sessions together, Fellows will have required pre-reading and homework to complete.


Monthly Leadership Coaching: After completing the initial leadership assessment, Fellows will work collaboratively with their matched coach to build a personalized playlist of coaching topics and determine a plan for engaging in business/operations coursework


School-wide pilots and monthly check-ins: Fellows will launch their solution designs in the school year. Manati program staff will meet with Fellows and conduct school visits to ensure seamless solution implementation and to offer support as needed.


Exhibition of Learning: At the end of the Fellowship experience, Manati Fellows will present their shared solution, lessons earned, and future plan for growth with an audience comprised of current charter school leaders of color, potential future leaders of color, and other stakeholders in the field (foundation representative, nonprofit partners, et al).

Meet Our First Cohort!

Our first Manati Fellowship cohort hales from Washington DC, in partnership with
Charlotte Spann
Charlotte Spann

Executive Director of Schools
Paul Public Charter School

Kathryn Procope
Kathryn Procope

Head of School
Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science

Marco Clark
Marco Clark

Founder & CEO
Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts

Rasheki Kuykendall-Walker
Rasheki Kuykendall-Walker

Founding Teacher
Roots Public Charter School

Regina Rodriguez
Regina Rodriguez

Executive Director & Head of School-
Shining Stars Montessori Academy School

Shawn Hardnett
Shawn Hardnett

Founder & Executive Director
Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys