CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Two of the nation’s top school principals today received the Ryan Award for exceptional leadership in closing the achievement gap in urban K-12 schools. The prestigious award includes a $25,000 honorarium and the opportunity to teach their successful practices at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Pat Ryan, Jr., founder of the Chicago-based Accelerate Institute which sponsors the award, presented the winners with their awards at the Institute’s annual Impact Dinner in Chicago. “We created the Ryan Awards four years ago to highlight the leaders of the most successful transformational schools in the US,” Ryan said. “Our goal is to recognize the achievements of these leaders, enlist them as role models and help current and future principals learn from their successes.”
The 2016 Ryan Award winners are Hannah Lofthus, founding principal and CEO of Ewing Marion Kauffman School in Kansas City, and Laura Miguez Howarth, principal of KIPP Academy Nashville. Under their leadership, both schools have consistently outperformed other schools in their states and cities, according to state proficiency tests.
Lofthus opened the Kauffman School in 2011 with a mission of creating college graduates. It has grown to include two middle schools and a high school, and next year will serve nearly 900 low-income students in grades 5 through 10. Students who attend Kauffman School have shown significant learning gains. In the first four years, the school’s founding class of students improved their proficiency from one-third in tested areas to the 93rd percentile in English Language Arts, 96th percentile in Science and the 99th percentile in Math. The Kauffman School was named the 2015 Missouri Charter School of the Year.
KIPP Academy serves a minority population of 360 students in grades 5-8 in the East Nashville area, offering a rigorous college preparatory program. Under Miguez Howarth’s leadership, KIPP Academy was a SCORE Prize Finalist the last two years, a coveted recognition of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education. State Report Card data, as measured by the Tennessee Value-Added System, gave KIPP Academy grades of A in Achievement, B in Reading and A in Science, with straight As in the same subject areas for student growth for the 2014-2015 school year. It also has been named a Tennessee Reward School for having achieved top five percent student growth in the state.
The Ryan Award is the first national award honoring high-impact school principals in the US. Previous winners have been from Atlanta, Chicago, Newark, New Orleans, Phoenix, Wilmington, Del. and Washington, D.C., all heads of schools both public and charter serving minority populations.
Ryan Award winners are nominated by education leaders across the country. Criteria are: nominees must be urban K-12 principals for at least four years with a measurable record of accelerated student achievement growth.
The Accelerate Institute is dedicated to ensuring all children have the opportunity to achieve to their fullest potential. It identifies high performing, results-focused school leadership with a passion for closing the achievement gap in urban education. For further information on the Ryan Awards and the Accelerate Institute, visit: www.accelerateinstitute.org.