The Mind Trust: School Founder Fellowships

The Mind Trust                                                                      

Founded in 2006, The Mind Trust is an education nonprofit striving to provide every Indianapolis student, regardless of circumstances, the opportunity to receive a world-class education. To achieve its mission, The Mind Trust attracts talented social innovators and education entrepreneurs to Indianapolis and empowers them to drive change in K-12 education. In the decade since its launch, The Mind Trust has raised over $83 million, built cross-sector alignment, and established a national model for city-based education change.  Further, with the nation’s strongest charter law, the nationally unique Innovation Network School law, and multiple school incubation pathways, Indianapolis is possibly the best city in the country to open new schools. You can read more about their impact and the landscape here.

Since 2014 The Mind Trust’s fellowships have supported the launch of 18 Innovation Network Schools, serving over 8,500 Indianapolis students.

Build Your Dream School in Indianapolis

The Mind Trust invests in innovators and social entrepreneurs to design and launch new schools in Indianapolis. Fellows receive one to two years of salary, healthcare, benefits, and access the following supports:

  • A cohort of fellows with diverse backgrounds and the same commitment to launch great schools,

  • Opportunities to travel and engage with leaders at some of the nation’s best schools,

  • Extensive expertise and coaching on the school design and launch process, and

  • Individualized leadership training and professional development opportunities.

In total, we value each year of the fellowship at approximately $200,000.

The opportunities include:

Innovation Schools

The Innovation School Fellowship is a nationally recognized fellowship created in partnership between Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation to launch “Innovation Network Schools” within Indiana’s largest district. These schools have the freedoms and flexibilities of charter schools with the resources and services of district schools, including a building at little to no cost.

Charter Schools

The Charter School Fellowship supports the development of high quality charter schools in Indianapolis. These schools are fully autonomous and are accountable to their charter school authorizer for increasing student achievement.

Who Should Apply and Why

It takes exceptional leaders to design and build schools that provide all students with the education they deserve. Not only do great school founders build and lead the vision for their school, but they also buy teams and stakeholders into their ambitious goals for student achievement.  Further, they have the resilience, fortitude, and creativity to solve intractable challenges.

  • Previous and current charter school founders and leaders. You’ve built and led teams to great results for students, and have a vision for how schools can serve communities better.  You’ve engaged community partners, built systems for high quality instruction, and you’re excited to build something brand new for students.

  • Turnaround experts. You’ve led change management, and have experience making big transitions and getting big results in struggling schools. Imagine having one-to-two years planning time as well as the autonomy to design your model and build your own team to empower a community for education success!

  • Education Entrepreneurs. You have big dreams for how we can reimagine school and how we can prepare the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. You have exceptional leadership skills, you can build a coalition of supporters, and you’re ready to tackle big issues.

Application Process

To begin, please apply by submitting your resume with subject line “The Mind Trust” to Ron Rapatalo at

All interested candidates are invited to submit a Statement of Intent by January 6, 2019.

After review, select candidates will then be invited to submit a Full Application by February 3, 2019. The Mind Trust will conduct initial interviews in February, with finalists interviewing with a cross-sector panel of leadership from The Mind Trust, the district, the mayor’s office, and community leaders. Final decisions will be made by the end of March, and fellowships begin mid-July.

For additional questions about this position, please contact Ron Rapatalo at