Southern Education Leadership Initiative


SELI Overview and History

The Southern Education Leadership Initiative (SELI) is an intensive, eight-week, paid, summer fellowship for Emerging Leaders interested in advancing racial equity and improving education across the pre-K through college continuum.  Placed in nonprofits, school districts, or state education agencies in the South, SELI Fellows spend the summer developing as leaders, engaging with valuable stakeholders and acquiring practical job skills through direct learning experiences. 

SEF began SELI in 2004 to mark the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, recognizing that there is still important work to be done to ensure that all children, irrespective of race, class, gender or national origin, receive an excellent education.  Through SELI, talented and diverse young leaders have conducted important research, policy analysis, advocacy, and organizing efforts for over 100 partner organizations over the course of its 15-year tenure. SELI alum can be found today working as educators, policymakers, researchers, community organizers and committed civic leaders dedicated to improving the lives of all children.

Through career coaching, mentorship, networking, and practical skill-building opportunities, paired with experiences to sharpen the racial equity lens, SELI raises up a new generation of leaders and strategic thinkers by providing them with real-world opportunities where they can grow academically, professionally and civically. Not only does the fellowship provide an unparalleled glimpse into diverse aspects of the education sector, but also insight into Fellows' own capacity for leadership in the field.  SELI fellowships have been characterized as illuminating and often life-changing. 

SELI fellowships also create value for placement sites, communities, and ultimately public school students. The work completed by SELI fellows has major implications for their host organizations and will continue to impact the populations served well after the fellowship concludes.


2019 Application Now Available.


Application Deadline March 4, 2019 (5pm ET)


Learn more about the fellowship experience by watching this short video. 


To Learn More About How to Apply,

Watch the SELI 2019 Prospective Fellows Webinar HERE.


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