Joel Pelcyger, co-founder and Head of School for PS # 1 Elementary School in Santa Monica, has been awarded a fully-funded fellowship to attend the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership’s 2008 Head of Schools program at Teachers College, Columbia University.

This award is granted annually to just 20 heads of school from around the world.

For two weeks, Pelcyger and other visiting heads of school will gather together at Columbia University for intense study to examine educational issues and policies facing independent school educators. The event began January 20th.

The center selects fellowship educators who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishment or potential for excellence.

The 2008 cohort includes participants from all parts of the United States, as well as The Netherlands, India, Sudan, Kenya, Mexico and Turkey.

Pelcyger, who in 1971 at the age of 24 founded PS # 1 because he was dissatisfied with the education being provided in public schools, is the only attendee from Southern California, according to a spokesman.

Now in its 30th year, the Klingenstein Center is dedicated to improving the quality of independent school education by developing and strengthening leadership among administrators who work in and with independent schools in the United States and throughout the world.