Newark Public School Principal Receives Prestigious Ryan Award

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 18:38 Local Talk News Editor


Surrounded by students whose lives have been deeply enriched under his guidance, MichaelMann, principal of North Star Academy College Preparatory High School in Newark, was named a recipient of the Ryan Award during a surprise assembly at the school.

Mann was given the prestigious award for exceptional leadership in closing the achievement gap in urban K-12 schools. The award, sponsored by the Chicago-based Accelerate Institute, includes a $25,000 honorarium and the opportunity to teach his successful methodologies at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

"We created the Ryan Awards to highlight the leaders of the most successful transformational schools in the US," said Pat Ryan, Jr., founder of the Accelerate Institute, who came to the school to present the award. "We want to honor these heroes, enlist them as role models and help current and future principals learn from their successes. Mike Mann is the embodiment of excellent school leadership."

This is the second year these national awards are being conferred by the Accelerate Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of high-impact urban school leaders who accelerate student achievement.

Mann was called to an assembly of the North Star Academy student body that was actually a ruse to surprise him with the announcement.

"Mike has the extraordinary gift of keeping a laser-like focus on what matters most: outstanding outcomes for his students," said Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, managing director of North Star Academies. "Incredibly self-reflective, he continually raises the bar for what is possible, standing as an example for all of us."

Under Mann's leadership, the public charter high school is outperforming 93 percent of all schools in New Jersey, including most upper-income school districts. The percentage of North Star seniors scoring Advanced Proficient on the state HSPA graduation exam has gone up steadily over the past four years, with average scores on par with the highest performing schools in Essex County. One hundred percent of North Star's seniors are accepted to college. According to national SAT data, North Star has the highest SAT results of any low-income charter high school in the country.

Prior to leading the success at North Star High School, Mann was principal of Uncommon School's Clinton Hill middle school in Newark. He graduated from Harvard College with an undergraduate degree in government, then obtained one master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Teaching and Curriculum and another from Columbia University Teacher's College in educational leadership.

Mann is the third school principal to receive the Ryan Award in 2014. Two other recipients were announced last week: Eva Stevens of Heatherbrae Elementary School in Phoenix, and Melissa Jones-Clarke of Atlanta Heights Charter School. Ryan Award winners are nominated by education leaders across the country. Criteria are: nominees must be K-12 principals for at least four years with a measurable record of consecutive student achievement growth. This second class of three Ryan Awardees will be celebrated at the Accelerate Institute's annual Impact Dinner October 2 in Chicago.

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