Inaugural Class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows in Education Leadership Unveiled in Wisconsin

FOR RELEASE: Thursday, September 4, 2014

Patrick Riccards | Director of Media Relations & Strategy | (703) 298‐8283 (press only) 
JoEllen Burdue | Director of Media Relations, Milwaukee School of Engineering | (414) 277-7117

To Address 21st Century Wisconsin School Leadership Needs, Inaugural Class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows in Education Leadership Unveiled

New Woodrow Wilson Foundation program at Milwaukee School of Engineering ensures Wisconsin has the school leaders to close achievement gaps

MILWAUKEE, WI – In response to a growing need to better prepare school and district leaders for today’s challenges and opportunities, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation announced its inaugural class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows in Education Leadership in Wisconsin. The MBA Fellowship program charts a new course in education leader preparation, blending clinical practice in schools with innovative business school coursework to ensure graduates have the knowledge, skills, and character to both lead and close achievement gaps between America’s lowest- and highest-performing schools and between the country’s top-performing schools and those around the world.

Wisconsin is one of the first two states to launch the Woodrow Wilson (WW) MBA Fellowships. The Woodrow Wilson Foundation is partnering with the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) on the initiative, which will provide principals with a blend of graduate coursework and a tailored MBA curriculum.

“As a nation, we must do a better job preparing our future school and district leaders,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and author of an influential national study that called for dramatically changing how the United States prepares school leaders. “What we did in the past will no longer suffice. We need new approaches and new preparation that addresses where our schools and classrooms are headed. These Wisconsin MBA Fellows are not only committed to improving education and closing the achievement gap in Wisconsin, but they will be leaders in a new national movement to dramatically improve how we prepare educators.”

The inaugural class of WW MBA Fellows at MSOE come from:

  • Carmen Schools of Science and Technology
  • Elmbrook School District
  • Kenosha Indian Trail High School
  • Mequon-Thiensville School District
  • Milwaukee Academy of Science
  • Milwaukee College Prep – 38th Street Campus
  • Milwaukee Collegiate Academy
  • New Berlin School District
  • Nicolet High School
  • Northpoint Lighthouse Charter School
  • Rocketship Southside Community Prep
  • Slinger Elementary
  • Teach For America

The Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership recruits and prepares experienced educators, who will take 12 to 15 months of executive-style MBA courses. The program, one of the first two in the nation, is offered through MSOE’s Rader School of Business and is equivalent in rigor to traditional MBA programs. It is designed to prepare leaders who will create school cultures to drive innovation in schools, expand the use of analytics and evidence-based practices, raise student performance to international levels, create school cultures to foster citizens of good character, and improve the quality of school systems and teaching over time. Wisconsin joins Indiana to embrace this new approach to school leadership. Each Fellow was selected from a highly competitive pool of nominations.

Unlike programs that recruit career changers from other fields to work in schools, candidates were nominated by Wisconsin school districts, as well as choice and charter schools. Fellows were selected based on key characteristics of effective leaders and will be experienced with the culture of schools to be able to help transform them from within. Each receives a $50,000 stipend that includes tuition assistance for the master’s program, along with executive coaching and opportunities for international experience in innovative schools in other countries. In exchange, Fellows will serve in leadership roles in identified districts/schools for at least three years.

MSOE is partnering with 10 to 12 area school districts to develop partnerships that will sustain clinical placements (in-school learning arrangements) and mentoring opportunities for the WW MBA Fellows.

“We are pleased to welcome the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows to MSOE. Our new degree program raises the bar in education standards, and these Fellows are committed to improving student performance in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Hermann Viets, MSOE president. “At MSOE we prepare our students to be leaders, and the Fellows are no exception. They’re highly qualified school leaders who are going to be change agents.”

Levine, MSOE President Viets, and Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, honored Wisconsin’s first class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows at an event at MSOE this morning.

“Wisconsin has a proud history leading the nation in ground-breaking education reforms.  This new fellowship program is an exciting addition to that tradition of innovation and educational excellence.  By combining best practices from the business world and the classroom, MSOE’s MBA in Education Leadership will equip Wisconsin’s school principals and superintendents to better teach our children, lead their staffs, and steward taxpayer dollars,” Kleefisch said.

The WW MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership draws on the Foundation’s experience with its state Teaching Fellowship, which works to transform teacher education and recruit very able candidates to teach math and science in high-need schools. The Teaching Fellowship is now operating in five states with 28 universities.

Visit http://woodrow.org/fellowships/ww-ed-mba to learn more about the Foundation’s work in leadership preparation. To learn more about the program at MSOE visit www.msoe.edu/mbaeducationleadership.


About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.

About Milwaukee School of Engineering
Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,600 students that was founded in 1903. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, business, mathematics, and nursing. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; a 96% placement rate; and the highest average starting and mid-career salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.


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