Washington, November 7
Indian-American Pia Dandiya has been appointed the White House Fellow for the year 2020-21.
Dandiya, the founding principal of Democracy Prep Endurance High School in Harlem, New York, is the only Indian American among 14 White House Fellows announced this year.
Created in 1964 by President Lyndon B Johnson, the White House Fellows program was designed “to give the fellows first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the federal government and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs”, a media release said.
Dandiya, at present, is placed at the United States Department of Education. Every single graduate of her school went on to attend college despite nearly all living below the poverty line, the White House said.
She founded her high school when she was 28 years old, making her among the youngest principals in the country at the time. Her school remains one of the highest performing in New York and has earned the title of “Recognition School” for its high academic achievement.
She began her career in Boston with Teach for America as a middle-school Maths teacher where she led her students to the highest growth percentile in state assessments.
Before transitioning to school leadership, Dandiya was a manager of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America in New York, and a teacher at the first all-boys charter school in the country.
She has been featured in national news pieces on effective teaching and speaks three languages, including Spanish and Hindi. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University and has a Master of Education from Boston University.
The fellowship was created as a non-partisan programme and has maintained this tradition throughout both Republican and Democratic administrations. The mission of the White House Fellows Program is to encourage active citizenship and service to the nation. PTI