The President’s Commission on White House Fellows recently announced the appointment of the 2020-2021 class of White House Fellows, with Indian American education reformer and entrepreneur Pia Dandiya among the 14-person class.
The highly regarded White House Fellowship provides professionals from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to engage in public service for one year by serving in various roles in the federal government.
Dandiya, who is the founding principal of Democracy Prep Endurance High School in Harlem, New York, 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, a press release issued by the White House noted.
Dandiya founded her high school at 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, it said.
Dandiya began her career in Boston, Massachusetts, with Teach For America as a middle school math teacher, where she led her students to the highest growth percentile in state assessments at her school. Before transitioning to school leadership, she 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, Excellence Boys Charter School.
Dandiya has been featured in national news pieces on effective teaching and speaks three languages, including Spanish and Hindi.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree in government from Harvard University and has a Master of Education from Boston University.
The highly competitive selection process to become a White House Fellow is based on a record of professional accomplishment, evidence of leadership skills, the potential for further growth, and a commitment to service. Selected individuals spend one year working as a full-time, paid fellow to senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries, and other top-ranking government officials.