Ayers leadership scholarships available due to $1M gift

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Ayers leadership scholarships for aspiring principals now available thanks to $1M gift from Ayers Foundation

Lipscomb University’s innovative graduate leadership programs involve mentoring, competency assessment and after-graduation support

A $1 million gift from the Ayers Foundation has made a  new partnership program and scholarships available for aspiring school leaders throughout the region to earn an educational leadership master’s or education specialist degree with administrative licensure from Lipscomb University’s College of Education.

Recipients of the scholarship, called Ayers Leadership Fellows, will receive aid for up to half the cost of enrolling in Lipscomb’s redesigned educational leadership master’s or education specialist program.

Up to 15 Ayers Fellows will be selected to study in four focus areas: personal and ethical leadership, visionary leadership, learning-focused leadership and organizational leadership. Candidates will submit proposals for how their districts will support and utilize their fellows if selected to receive funding and participate in the program. 

Lipscomb’s program assesses fellows for 31 competencies that will help them become highly effective leaders in their schools. The leadership competencies will be learned and strengthened through innovative field experiences where participants will work directly with a mentor coach – a current principal or district leader – throughout the entire program.

Ayers Leadership Fellows graduates will receive additional support as new school leaders by the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation at Lipscomb. 

The educational leadership M.Ed. can be earned in 33 hours and the Ed.S. can be earned in 36 hours. Both lead to administrative licensure in the state of Tennessee.

“The Ayers Leadership Fellows Program will serve as the model for how to select, prepare, assess and network new principals in our region,” said Candice McQueen, Lipscomb senior vice president, dean of the College of Education and executive director of the Ayers Institute. “Preparing exceptional leaders for our schools must accompany preparing the best teachers. These scholarships move us even closer to the goal of supporting and preparing the best people for leadership roles throughout Tennessee.”

The Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation was founded in 2012 with an initial $1 million gift from the Ayers Foundation as a program to support and develop strong leaders in Tennessee schools. Today’s additional gift brings total support of the institute to $2 million.

“The institute has three main goals – improving teacher performance and student outcomes and developing teacher leaders in underserved school districts in Tennessee,” said Janet Ayers, president of the Ayers Foundation. “Leadership may well be the most important of those goals. Our scholarships combined with the leadership preparation model at Lipscomb will have a significant impact on thousands of students in our state.”

Scholarship recipients for the Ayers Leadership Fellows Program will be selected through a rigorous process including multi-tiered, on-campus interviews. Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate strong support by their school districts – which includes financial backing, commitment to mentoring and hosting the clinical requirements for the program. The details of each district’s support must be clearly outlined in a scholarship application form, specifying how the candidate and the district plan to use this opportunity for growth in their schools.  

Ayers Leadership Fellows will complete the program in 17 months through field experiences, weekend meetings, online interaction and mentor coach sessions. Upon completion, each fellow will be qualified to serve as a school administrator in Tennessee and will also possess the skills to be a highly effective, ethical school leader who drives growth in student achievement.

The inaugural group of Ayers Leadership Fellows will be selected this spring and will begin their program in fall 2014. Lipscomb will begin taking applications for the Ayers Leadership Fellows Scholarship in late January and applications are due by March 31.  Interviews will take place in April and fellows will be announced on May 1.

For more information and an application for the Ayers Leadership Fellow Scholarship, log on to www.lipscomb.edu/education/ayers-leadership-fellows or contact Kristin Baese, director of outreach and enrollment, at kristin.baese@lipscomb.edu or 615.966.5173.


About the Lipscomb University College of Education

Lipscomb University’s College of Education is a known leader and innovator in education in the state of Tennessee. In 2013, the College of Education was among the top four teacher preparation programs in the nation according to the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Prep Review, and one of the most effective programs in the state over the course of three years according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's Teacher Preparation Program Report. The college offers undergraduate and graduate programs that enable candidates to teach in 24 different subject areas with students from kindergarten to high school.


About the Ayers Foundation

Established in 1999 by Jim Ayers of Parsons, Tenn., the Ayers Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the people of Tennessee by positively affecting the fields of education, conservation and social welfare. The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program began with the vision of making higher education more accessible to young people in West Tennessee’s Decatur and Henderson counties. The Scholars Program was created to financially assist small-community students to continue their education, through its own scholarships and with support in obtaining other sources of scholarship monies. Since its inception, the Ayers Foundation has awarded more than 2,000 scholarships. For more information visit www.theayersfoundation.org.