Becoming an SDP Partner

For education and nonprofit organizations committed to using evidence for change, the Strategic Data Project recruits and trains data talent to move forward strategic priorities in your organization. We invite partners who value a culture of rigorous data use to hire an SDP Fellow or enroll an existing staff member in the fellowship program. 

Download the Partnership Flyer

Start the Partnership Application

Partner Benefits


Build your team's data capacity.

Partners hire data fellows recruited and screened by Harvard researchers for the two-year program, or they enroll one or more of their own employees as agency fellows to receive tools and training to support the organization.


Carry out a High Impact Project.

Advised by renowned faculty and mentors, fellows carry out a transformative data project to advance a critical initiative for partners. This work results in action-oriented insights to aid policymakers in decision-making.


Access Leaders and Experts. 

At multiple in-person workshops, partners and fellows have access to a growing network of education leaders, data strategists, and researchers who exchange best practices, rigorous findings, statistical code, and ideas.

  • "Knowing what strategies make a difference through the use of data has taken us from 34 to 54% of our students being college and career ready just two years later.”

    Karen Dodd, Kentucky Department of Education (SDP Supervisor, 2015 - 2019)

  • "Our Fellow was already a leader, but the SDP broadened his world and data view, gave him better insight into some of our biggest academic challenges, and connected him with outstanding leaders and valuable resources."

    Kurt Madden, Fresno Unified School District (SDP Supervisor, 2015 - 2017)

  • "The SDP fellowship program gave our agency fellows tools and strategies to keep our strategic planning and data use efforts moving when we would otherwise have been tempted to let other things delay our work. Their excitement and enthusiasm for the use of data has not only changed our office culture and attitudes about data but increased our principals' enthusiasm for the use of data at the local school sites."

    Cathy Spencer, Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools (SDP Supervisor, 2015 - 2017)

  • "We now bring some very powerful truths... based in data that we always had but were never able to liberate for the purposes of decision making."

    Amy McIntosh, New York State Education Department (SDP Supervisor, 2012-2014)

Pathways to Becoming a Partner


Strategic Data Project fellows are recruited by SDP via a competitive nationwide search. They are matched to SDP partner organizations where they are hired as full-time, paid, agency employees for two years and participate in SDP workshop and activities, while executing on key analytic projects identified by your organization's leadership. They bring impressive credentials in statistics, data management, and research methods to the projects commissioned by your organization.

How to hire a Data Fellow


Partner organizations may nominate a rising star within your organization with analytic chops, high-quality written and verbal communication skills, and the passion and drive to be a changemaker within education to become a fellow. These fellows remain as full-time employees at partner organizations and participate in all SDP workshops and activities, alongside fellows who have been hired as new employees by other SDP partner organizations.

How to Enroll an Agency Fellow


SDP hopes to support your organization in growing its leadership and technical capacity to do ambitious data work. There are three ways to develop a team or group of data leaders. Partners are welcome to enroll and/or hire multiple fellows at their agency, funders are welcome to sponsor multiple fellows at their grantee sites, and organizations can send teams to the weeklong training SDP hosts every summer. SDP can also deliver a custom training for your group.

Contact us for more information

Sponsoring Fellows

  • Why Funders Sponsor SDP Fellows

    SDP has a track record of successfully working with foundations seeking to build analytic capacity at grantee sites. By placing fellows, they build their ability to report on the impact of their investments and help organizations learn more with data.

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  • Partnering With Local Businesses

    Long-time SDP partner Atlanta Public Schools knew they wanted to continue participating in the Strategic Data Project fellowship. Faced with a lack of flexibility in the budget, they decided to get creative. Rachel Sprecher, APS Executive Director of the Office of Partnerships and Development, shares how the district was able to secure external funding to continue their participation in the fellowship.

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  • Adding Fellows to Grantwriting Efforts

    When we have competing priorities, how can we ensure that staff remain tied to the projects that matter most? Fortune School of Education, a California-based charter management organization, had an answer to this question: the Strategic Data Project fellowship.

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