Racial Equity Leadership Network Eligibility

Leadership Orientation 

The team orientation is a vital aspect of the Southern Education Foundation's leadership approach. We realize and value the transformative potential of an entire set of education leaders working in tandem toward the same goal and viewing challenges through a lens appropriate to their context. During convenings, district leaders will work alongside peers who uniquely understand the complexity of the challenges they contend with, yielding opportunities for peer learning, support and advising. While in-district, they will endeavor collaboratively with those who support their work on a daily basis and Connect, Learn, Act, and Change together in hopes that goals may be carried out by a team rather than a singular leader. This, in turn, creates a system that is responsive to the changing needs of the student body and yields enduring strategies that strike at the heart of race and equity issues as they exist within the district. 

No change rests on a single set of shoulders, and our work is informed by the importance of connecting the key stakeholders, learning together what challenges deserve prioritization, taking action thoughtfully, and promoting change in a compelling way. With an eye toward creating a safe space where collaborative learning may take place and where a racial equity focus may be intentionally taken up as a key focal point, we have set forth the following eligibility standards. 

Eligibility Requirements 

Candidates selected for inclusion in the Racial Equity Leadership Network may vary in the size of the district they lead, demographic composition, budget size, geographic location, and in the types of equity challenges they identify. Our selection will be foremost guided by the districts’ and candidates' ability to demonstrate a true need and willingness to seek equity-centered systemic change and their commitment to be a consistent participant and contributor to the Racial Equity Leadership Network. Ultimately, the Racial Equity Leadership Network will come to be reflective of the racially and economically diverse communities that constitute our southern region & beyond.

District Fellow Candidate (1)

  • must be an executive leader (i.e., Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Chief Academic Officer) in a school district in the South that is committed to reducing inequities in their districts and exhibit readiness to implement innovative, transformational change in their system. Special consideration may be given to candidates from states outside the South on a case-by-case basis.
  • must be available and committed to attending and fully participating in all five (5) two-day Network Convenings.
  • must identify and support the involvement of a design team inclusive of 5-7 members. This can be an existing team if applicable. This team will be responsible for identifying a racial equity challenge that exists within their district and designing and implementing strategies to advance progress on it. We strongly recommend including at least one member of your cabinet level team (i.e. Chief Academic Officer, Deputy Superintendent) to promote support and consistency.

District Design Team (5-7 members)

Members of the design team will be actively engaged with the equity initiative within the district and exhibit a commitment to addressing equity challenges but will not attend in-person convenings. District Design Teams may consist of an existing team or a newly convened team. This team will be responsible for identifying a racial equity challenge and designing and implementing strategies to advance progress on it. While not an exhaustive list, the following roles are examples of some of the individuals that you might consider including to provide a well-rounded, supportive group of stakeholders to support you in the endeavors that may be yielded from your inclusion in the Network.

  • Director of Student Services 
  • Director of Family & Community Partnerships
  • Health Services | Mental/Behavioral/Physical 
  • Principals | Elementary, Middle, High Schools
  • School Board Representative
  • Community Leader

With the exception of ensuring involvement of a cabinet level member, we respect that district leaders have the best sense of who within their district will invest the time, effort, and provide a unique perspective to the team to help them achieve their ultimate goals. We encourage district leaders to be thoughtful of the capacity of design team members as active participation will be a core expectation of each member of the design team. (We invite you to involve members outside of the aforementioned list, which is provided for example purposes only.)

Candidates will be asked to provide a rationale for the composition of their team and to describe how they plan to ensure the necessary capacity and opportunities for learning for their team to fully engage in the Network. 


Interested in applying? Please forward all inquiries to our RELN Program Coordination Team at racialequity@southerneducation.org.

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