Special Education Leader Fellowship

To improve the quality of special education programming by developing highly skilled special education leaders in schools.

Why We Do It

Over the last decade, New Orleans public schools have seen unprecedented improvement in student academic outcomes, including the academic growth for over 4,000 students with learning differences, over 13% of the student population. However, these recent improvements and potential future advances in special education are threatened by a dearth of skilled teachers. A 2014 survey revealed that the supply of high-quality special education leaders does not meet the city-wide need.

What We Do

The Leader Fellowship

The Leader Fellowship provides the following elements to develop special education leaders:

  • Training in leadership skills and content expertise with a cohort of peers working as special education and RTI coordinators.
  • On-the-job training including 1:1 coaching from SELF experts, program reviews, and critical friends visits.
  • National school visits to learn from excellent programs serving students with disabilities in a high-quality way.

Specialized Development Cohorts

SELF’s Specialized Development Cohorts equip teachers with research-based instructional knowledge and skills in order to provide quality instruction to students in special education or intervention.

Components of each Cohort include:

  • Training Sessions led by experts in the field
  • Job-Embedded Coaching
  • Professional Learning Communities

School Support

We offer a variety of ways to set up your school for success:
  • LDOE partners: We are a vendor partner of the Louisiana Department of Education. Check out the services we can provide schools on the UIR list when you apply using your super app funds.
  • Customizable Consulting: SPED Program Audits, embedded job coaching, and professional development sessions to whole staff, school leaders, or special education teams
  • SPED/RtI Hub with NSNO: We have partnered with NSNO to support schools on the UIR or UIN list in New Orleans in order to provide Tier 1 access to all students.

Our Values


We believe that every student, regardless of their identity and learning style, can achieve at their highest potential.


We prioritize collaboration to ensure a stronger sense of belonging. We lead ourselves and others in a way that places all students at the center of our work.


It is our responsibility to use our own talents and capacities in order to ensure that the mindsets and systems are in place for our students to have equitable, inclusive, and anti-bias classroom spaces.

Developing highly skilled special education leaders in schools

Have any questions?

Exceptional Students. Exceptional Leaders. Exceptional Results.

Info Sessions