Wendt Fellowships Promote Holistic Change in Urban Education

Faculty; Social Work; Students

The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis has announced a new full-tuition fellowship program, the Wendt Fellowship Program in St. Louis School Leadership, designed to attract and educate the future leaders of urban public schools in our region.

Established through the generosity of Gregory W. Wendt, in honor of his mother Joan Wendt, this fellowship will provide a select number of Master of Social Work/Master of Arts in Education joint degree students with full-tuition financial support.

The Wendt Fellowship Program will create a new generation of leaders with the holistic understanding needed for effective education reform. Their comprehensive training will encompass micro to macro perspectives, highlighting the connections between children, families, school systems, and communities. Each Wendt Fellow will be paired with an outstanding school leader who will provide mentoring and advising.

MSW/MAEd graduates will fill a significant local and national need for professionals who can address the greatest challenges of urban education. These leaders will understand the links between academic achievement and social and emotional well-being, in order to foster school environments where all children are empowered to succeed.

“One of the major limits on school reform and improvement of urban schools has been the scarcity of well-prepared leaders,” said Edward F. Lawlor, dean of the Brown School and the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor. “The modern challenge of creating high performing schools involves both educational and instructional leadership as well as sophistication about the family, social, and community contexts of students. Wendt Fellows will be uniquely prepared for tackling the complex roles of modern school leadership.”

The fellowship program will also expand the community of talented leaders in St. Louis area schools. Wendt Fellows commit to a minimum of three years in urban public schools in the greater St. Louis region upon graduation from Washington University to be eligible for loan forgiveness.

“Teach For America, KIPP, and many other organizations in the St. Louis region are driving broad-based education reform that is having real impact,” Wendt said. “But a gap that I see is a pathway to take emerging leaders and move them to the next level, where they can start producing system-level changes. The Wendt Fellows program is meant to jump-start the development of leaders who will reform entire districts.”

Wendt is deeply invested in the success of urban education in the City of St. Louis. He founded both Teach For America and KIPP’s efforts in St. Louis, and was each organization’s first board chair.

The School is conducting a national search for up-and-coming leaders in urban education. The deadline to apply for a Wendt Fellowship is March 1, though earlier applications are encouraged.