Accelerate Institute Honors Two Urban School Principals for Closing the Achievement Gap

Kansas City and Nashville charter school principals receive the Ryan
Award and a $25,000 honorarium for leadership excellence in urban K-12

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:


Accelerate Institute
Nora Ligurotis, 312.216.1708