Open Call for Education Innovators

We are looking for Education Innovators that want to build the future of school today!

We are seeking individuals (or teams) that are dissatisfied with the status quo in public education and want to imagine and build better ways of ensuring students reach their full potential. We are seeking innovators that want to bring to life the classroom and school models that the future demands. We are seeking new ideas and proven approaches to teaching and learning, like:

  • putting students in the driver's seat of their own education and life
  • challenging students to flex their curiosity muscles 
  • tapping into the magic of peer-learning and teamwork
  • inspiring students to create and publish meaningful work
  • affirming students’ identity and provoking them to be culture-makers
  • blurring the lines between the traditional school and the real world
  • producing community change agents and engaged global citizens
  • leveraging the latest in technology and learning science for deeper learning
  • harnessing the creative energy of teachers and students to make the world a better place now

We want models that we haven’t thought or heard of yet.

We are excited to learn about your ambition for what the future of school can be. The only non-negotiable is that your model prepares every student to thrive in college and life. If you want to reimagine what is possible, let’s build the future of school together.


Launching and running schools (or path-breaking classroom concepts) is a complicated and risky proposition. This is particularly true in Chicago’s current educational climate. By partnering with CICS, you are joining an established organization -- with a 20-year track record of delivering results across the K-12 continuum -- that is committed to innovating in service of student success. CICS currently operates 14 campuses, serving over 8,000 students from kindergarten through high school across Chicago.

CICS seeks Education Entrepreneurs to envision, test, refine, and implement new approaches to teaching and learning. CICS will handle the heavy lifting around operations, administration, finances, and politics, and clear hurdles that might otherwise get in your way. You do what you do best: design and execute an exceptional learning model grounded in equity to prepare students to thrive in the 21st century. If you want to want to design and launch a new school model in Chicago, then we want to hear from you.

Through its work with equity and exploring what the future requires of today’s students, CICS has established Graduate Aims as the “north star” of all learning experiences at CICS.

These Graduate Aims include:

  • Academic Achievers thrive through rigorous, complex, and standards-aligned content, ideas, and tasks to build knowledge and experiences to achieve outstanding learning outcomes that support college success.
  • Changemakers grapple with history, connect to current events, and reflect to develop how they can create nuanced and effective solutions to local and global challenges.
  • Identity Affirmed graduates are comfortable with who they are, interrogate their own stories, operate with an equity-first lens, and build empathy with people across lines of difference.
  • Joyful Problem Solvers love learning and see growing potential about what they can create through collaboratively solving complex problems with human-centered design and real-world trial and error.
  • Navigators of the Future seek knowledge and skills by making sense of the world around them and developing habits that result in ambitious short- and long-term plans for education and work they are uniquely suited to pursue.

At this time, we are looking for exceptional educators to design and launch Micro-Labs aligned to these Graduate Aims. A Micro-Lab is a new school model with a cohort of 25-plus students at an existing CICS campus (i.e. a school-within-a-school) or as a program within an existing CICS campus (i.e. a portion of students’ school day).

CICS seeks new ideas and proven approaches to teaching and learning and is open to any model aligned to these Graduate Aims.

All candidates will be reviewed on a rolling basis; however, for educators looking to design their school of the future in the 2019-2020 school year, we encourage you to apply no later than November 1st.

The fellowship is designed as a part-time or full-time commitment for Fellows beginning in December 2019. By successfully completing the fellowship’s gates and securing the commitment of CICS and/or an SMO partner to launch a new model, part-time fellows can convert to full-time in July 2020 to prepare for school launch in late August.


Each Education Entrepreneur Fellow will receive a customized program of support designed to position them to successfully design, launch, and execute a school of the future. A personalized learning journey will be developed at the start of the fellowship to include the following elements:

  • Capital - Stipend for you and seed grant for start-up costs.
  • Coaching - Individual coaching on a regular basis from field experts and CICS’ Managing Director of Innovation.
  • Cohort - Structured, collaborative learning sessions with similar stage entrepreneurs.
  • Community - Design with students, parents, and community members.
  • Connections - Network of field experts, mentors, and fellowship alumni.
  • Curriculum - Online and in-person learning content aligned to core professional competencies and to include foundational equity-focus and visits to some of the most innovative school models locally and nationally.


As a CICS education leader, you are working with an organization committed to investing in your vision and development through a range of supports and services, including:

  • Access to a vibrant community of talented education leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Thought partnership around academic issues
  • Student recruitment and enrollment support
  • A school facility and help maintaining that facility
  • Food services and other operational services
  • Access to external partnerships
  • Strong existing relationships with families and communities
  • Centralized advocacy, policy, and community relations
  • Finance, budget, and reporting support
  • Data and accountability systems
  • An innovation engine committed to supporting the vision of instructional leaders


Successful candidates will have demonstrated commitment to equity and success in leading a classroom, multiple classrooms, or a school to demonstrable results. The following includes some of the mindsets, competencies, and abilities that constitute a prospective Education Entrepreneur Fellow: 

  • Very high expectations for student success
  • An innovation disposition
  • Compelling vision for a school or classroom of the future
  • A track record of measurable results
  • Deep understanding of effective instructional design and execution
  • Experience leveraging data to develop and drive strategy
  • Ability to build and maintain a student-centered school culture characterized by high standards and compassion
  • Robust coaching and people management skills, including experience leading professional development
  • Strong relationship building skills and a high degree of emotional intelligence
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to influence, inspire, and motivate students, families, staff, and community members
  • Bachelor’s degree required; graduate degree preferred

CICS is profoundly committed to ensuring that its schools serve as models of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Not only is it the right thing to do – it’s also the most effective way to advance racial and social justice. Because we live, learn and work in a diverse city and a diverse world, we value and expect cross-cultural competence and the continuous self-reflection and self-awareness it demands. Through our policies, practices, and attitudes, we cultivate a culture that prepares staff and students to respect, embrace, and champion diversity, equity, and inclusion within our schools and beyond them.


EOO Statement

Chicago International Charter School provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.



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