The National Institute for Latino School Leaders (NILSL)

UnidosUS 2019 Fellows
2019 UnidosUS Fellows

Our Vision

The National Institute for Latino School Leaders, NILSL, will bridge a current gap in the policy arena by infusing the voice of school leaders working with and on behalf of Latino students.

Our Mission

UnidosUS NILSL Fellows will provide insights, highlight practices, and inform policies that directly relate to or impact Latino youth in the public school system.

Our Principles

NILSL seeks to bridge the divide between practice and policy by providing school leaders the tools they need to:

  • Shape the education reform debate by including a Latino perspective
  • Advocate for policies and reform efforts that render increased educational outcomes for Latino and English learner (EL) students
  • Educate decision-makers and influence national policy to shape effective accountability measures geared at Latino and EL students

There are five principles that guide the NILSL's mission and vision:

  • Access to quality education.
  • High standards, high support.
  • Respect to the Latino community, culture, and values.
  • Rigorous accountability systems.
  • Responsible advocacy.

Fellowship Model

NILSL prepares leaders in education to become well-equipped advocates and spokespeople for ELs and Latino students at the local, state and national levels, defining the narrative in these spaces. Fellows select an issue area or challenge to elevate and address during the fellowship. Example issue areas include school funding transparency, teacher diversity, assessing ELs with disabilities, and implementing restorative practices.

For a portfolio of project ideas, please view previous NILSL memoranda on the UnidosUS publications page. The fellowship includes the following components:

  • Training modules provide fellows the opportunity to explore topics such as legislative advocacy, education policy, power mapping, developing advocacy strategies, public speaking, blog post and policy writing, and preparation for legislative visits. Four training modules will be included in the fellowship.
  • Group work allows fellows to learn from each other, sharing their experiences and perspective by engaging (in-person or remotely) outside the scheduled training modules.
  • Deliverables include a blog post, written policy recommendations, community engagement events, and legislative visits.

Our Goals


  • Establish and sustain a cohort of school leaders who can serve as spokespeople and address pressing education issues.


  • Solidify a pipeline of school leaders.
  • Establish a respected and credible source of school leaders that are actively engage in advocacy efforts on behalf of Latino students and effectively influence the field of education.

It is expected that the training modules offered to UnidosUS Fellows, in combination with their culminating policy project, will serve to raise awareness of Latino education issues and build support to address identified issues at the national, state, and local levels.

Interested in our program?

We consider many factors when assembling a cohort and creating the ideal blend of perspectives and issue area interest in each group is a key component of the program’s value and impact on participants. Therefore, compelling leaders who meet the criteria of the Fellowship may remain under consideration for an extended period of time until they fit into the mosaic of a particular cohort.

We are not currently accepting applications. You can sign up here to be notified of our upcoming selection cycle.


Contact Washington Navarrete at for more information about the National Institute for Latino School Leaders program.