Educators » NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN)

NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN)

NISN Leader Fellowship

In partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and other funders, NACA offers an intensive leader fellowship program.

The only fellowship program of its kind in the nation and the only charter school incubator in the United States dedicated solely to Native American education, leaders train at NACA to learn how to serve Native American students. Find out more below or visit the dedicated NACA-Inspired Schools Network website.



Charter School Design

NACA Leadership Fellows work closely with the NACA Fellowship Team and are placed on charter school design teams of three, in the following roles: (1) Instructional Leader, (2) Operations Leader, and (3) Community Engagement Specialist. Fellows then go on to transfer the model to their own charter school, built on a community-led design process.

The NACA Inspired Schools Network is committed to establishing schools that outperform peer schools by providing robust culturally relevant programs and rigorous academic programs focused on a college mission and vision.”

Fellowship Description

The fellowship includes:

  • Professional development and optional coursework in Indigenous studies.
  • Hands-on experience in the role of school administration and leadership. These duties will draw upon the applicant’s strengths and interest areas, as well as establish new skills and knowledge.
  • The opportunity to work alongside NACA’s experienced educators in the classroom and through administrative duties; for example, participating in planning and strategy sessions, facilitating staff meetings, participating in instructional teams, and attending budget workshops, among other skill-building areas.
  • Participation in the Indigenous Education Network, which meets bi-monthly and includes leaders in Native American education statewide that share learning and provide and receive mentorship and coaching.
  • The opportunity to learn about New Mexico Public Education Department educational reforms and current work to move New Mexico forward in educational attainment.
  • Visits to other schools in New Mexico and other areas of the country that offer best practices in Native American education.
  • Participation in NACA Governing Council meetings (the governing board for the school), and other school boards, commissions, and entities who impact policy in Native American communities.
  • The opportunity to support and engage in new and established community partnerships.
  • Training in developing written documentation, including strategic planning, charter application materials, and grant proposals. This includes 1:1 guidance in completing the New Mexico charter school application process.


Fellows will establish a charter school in the year following their fellowship that is based on the NACA model and community led-design measures. Charter schools should be located in areas with high Native American populations and/or areas that are underserved or have high numbers of low-income populations.

NACA will work with the Fellow to create a strategic plan for opening and operating the new charter school. Fellows will research and study the charter application process and complete a charter application during the fellowship. The Fellow will have the opportunity to establish key community partnerships and gain local support for the new school.

In the spring of 2010, I received an email announcing the launch of the NACA Leader Fellowship. Over the next year the opportunities and experiences provided by the Fellowship would impact me in multiple ways, exceeding all my expectations:

  • It provided first-hand experience observing charter school leadership, participating in community engagement efforts, and functioning as a member of the school’s admin team;
  • Colleagues at NACA provided countless lessons in indigenous education history, philosophy, and practice, and helped me develop a posture of learning through listening and observation;
  • It grew my awareness of coalition building, and provided opportunities to build coalitions with a variety of individuals and organizations;
  • And the Fellowship helped/challenged me to better understand my own identity, my potential role within an indigenous community, and the complex issues associated with that. “

– Gavin Sosa, Operations Director of Dream Diné, a new public charter school set to open in August 2014 and serve students in elementary grades.


Fellows commit to a 40-hour week and receive a salary of $40,000-$60,000, or commensurate with certification as determined by local requirements. Eligible applicants are current or experienced teachers, administrators, or instructional leaders with at least five years experience who wish to establish community-led charter schools that serve Native American students.

In addition, applicants must:

  • Meet all NACA employment requirements
  • Demonstrate an authentic commitment to community-led school design
  • Possess strong organizational skills, verbal skills and writing skills
  • Have a solid understanding of data use to inform decision-making and instruction
  • Be willing to live in Albuquerque, New Mexico for one school year, or apply for a special consideration from the Executive Director to remain in their current community and commute for required trainings and events

How to Apply

To apply, please fill see the NISN website and email written responses along with a curriculum vita to [email protected].


  • March 31, 2015:  Deadline for application for 2015-16
  • July 1-June 30: Year One of Fellowship
  • One year post fellowship: Open new charter school with support for start up of the new school



If you have questions or wish to receive more information please contact Kara Bobroff, NACA Founder and Executive Director.  You may also call 505-266-0992 with questions.