Rowland Foundation

The Rowland Fellowship
A unique professional development opportunity for Vermont secondary school teachers.

Lori Lisai, Rowland Fellow
"Transformational" is the best word to describe a Rowland fellowship. Not only do you work to transform your school, but you enter into an entirely different era of your life—one where you expand your network, become a part of a new (and amazing) family, and burst through the confines of your comfort zone. In every way, The Rowland Foundation is the best thing going for education in Vermont."

Lori Lisai, 2015 Rowland Fellow
Innovation Coordinator
Lamoille Union Middle & High School
The Rowland Foundation seeks applicants who are visionary, willing to lead, motivated and committed to affecting change in an area of concern within their respective schools, and who take risks and work collaboratively with others. The ideal candidates see connections between the school's culture and climate and a student's classroom performance. They demonstrate leadership within their school or are willing to step into a significant leadership role. They are keenly interested in their own professional development and are committed to their chosen discipline, the school and its students. The candidate is one who sees a task to a conclusion and is able to form clear partnerships with others to realize a vision.

The Foundation seeks proposals which:

  • will lead to systemic change in the school, particularly in its culture and climate
  • are visionary and comprehensive (what percentage of the population will they serve)
  • are sustainable after The Rowland Foundation completes its funding
  • are exportable to other schools. The Rowland Foundation is keenly interested in affecting change throughout Vermont.
  • have the complete support of the principal or head of school. This will be a key element of the interview process by the Executive Director prior to the selections.

The Fellowship

Each year up to ten Vermont secondary school educators are selected as Rowland Fellows from among all qualified applicants. The Foundation provides grants up to $100,000 to each of their schools for the Rowland Fellow to implement a vision to transform an aspect of the school which will positively impact its culture and climate.

Emily Gilmore, Rowland Fellow
"The Rowland Foundation has become a family I rely on to push my thinking and professional practice in innovative and student-centered ways."

Emily Gilmore, 2017 Rowland Fellow
Social Studies Teacher
South Burlington High School

An initial grant of up to $50,000 covers a sabbatical for the fall semester (September-January) for each Rowland Fellow. The sabbatical provides opportunity for travel, research, personal reflection and renewal, and for the development of an action plan to be implemented upon the Fellow's return to his/her respective school in January. The grant covers all costs (travel, transportation, and accommodations) except personal expenses. Meals for conferences, workshops and professional visits are covered at the daily reimbursement rate established by each school except when the Rowland Fellow is taking up residence for an extended period. The grant also covers the school's cost of hiring a substitute teacher. Substitute teacher costs for the past few years have averaged $30,000 for the sabbatical semester.

An additional grant of up to $50,000 is provided to each school in two installments to support the initiative developed by the Rowland Fellow. Most schools use part of this second installment to provide a reduced teaching load for the Rowland Fellow to work on his/her initiative during the second semester. The first $25,000 is made available in January upon the Fellow's return from sabbatical. The balance of the grant will be made in June after a visit by the Executive Director to each school and the submission of a final report. The allocation of these funds is a joint decision between the Rowland Fellow and the principal/head of school.


"The Rowland Foundation has made such a difference for Vermont students by empowering the people who know best what works in their schools: their teachers."

Alden Bird
2018 Rowland Fellow
English Teacher
U-32 High School
Alden Bird, Rowland Fellow
Implementation and Coaching

While the Executive Director will assist the Rowland Fellows with the implementation of their vision, the primary assistance comes through a collaborative partnership among all chosen Fellows. This community of Rowland Fellows (up to ten per year) will help influence change and school improvement throughout Vermont. To this end returning Rowland Fellows serve as mentors for the "next class" of Fellows. Rowland Fellows attend two pre-sabbatical and several post-sabbatical meetings to seek guidance, to establish collaborative partnerships to report on progress and to facilitate the mentorship program. The Rowland Foundation, in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University, offers 12 graduate credits to its Fellows during the sabbatical.

Rowland Fellows will share their sabbatical experiences with the Foundation's Board of Trustees and the new inductees at an annual dinner reception each spring.


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