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Overview of Gerstacker Fellowship Program I

Annually, ten to twelve aspiring school leaders are selected to serve as Gerstacker Fellows. They are nominated by their school districts and selected based on past academic, service, and professional experience, the recommendation of others as to their potential for true excellence in leadership, and an assessment of their ability to benefit from and contribute to the Program.

Following the completion of the program, most Gerstacker Fellows advance their careers. They provide leadership as Superintendents, Associate and Assistant Superintendents, Principals, Directors, and Teacher Leaders. Gerstacker Fellows acknowledge the "life-altering" experience provided by the Gerstacker Fellowship Program. 

The curriculum for the Gerstacker Fellowship Program spans twelve months, with monthly two-day sessions beginning in September. Topics may include organizational development and change, communication, human resources, finance, global education, political advocacy, school culture, non-traditional K-12 partners, and leadership skills. The curriculum also includes an international travel and study experience.

Previous international trips have included Finland, China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. These trips involve visits to elementary, middle, and high schools and the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest with administrators and teachers; the Ministry of Education to discuss K-12 education and its role within the national purpose; a university's graduate school of education to discuss how teachers are prepared and certified; and a corporate setting to understand how leadership plays out in different cultural and economic backgrounds. The 2024 International Study and Travel destinations will be Finland and German

Applications for the 17th Gerstacker Cohort are due on May 31. A selection committee will review the applications, conduct interviews, and a new cohort will be named by late June. An induction ceremony will be held on November 7, 2023, to welcome the new class of Gerstacker Fellows.

The endowment gift of the Gerstacker Foundation and the financial support of Saginaw Valley State University provide for all costs associated with the program. Therefore, there is no cost involved for the Fellows other than that associated with travel to the University Campus for the program sessions.


Contact Us
(989) 964-4057(989) 964-4057
Toll-free: 1-800-968-2540


James E. Tarr, Ph.D.

Acting Assistant Dean & Professor

Colleen D'Arcy, Ph.D.


College of Education Dean's Office
Gilbertson Hall, North 275
University Center, MI 48710


8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.