New Leaders Announces 2021-22 Roberts Award Winners

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14 educators nationwide to receive grants of $10,000 to $25,000 for student-centered programming and COVID response


MEDIA CONTACT: Dorie Turner Nolt —, 404.861.1127

New Leaders, in partnership with national board member Linnea Roberts, today announced 14 schools led by the organization’s alumni will receive grants to support innovative, student-centered programming in schools across the country.

This year’s awardees include school leaders in San Diego and El Cerrito, California; Chicago, Illinois; Greensboro, North Carolina; Baltimore and Mitchellville, Maryland; New York City; Memphis, Tennessee; Federal Way, Washington state; and Washington, D.C.

Learn more about their winning programs here.

The Roberts Award for School Innovation gives grants from $10,000 to $25,000 that support student enrichment projects in schools served by alumni of the New Leaders Aspiring Principals or Emerging Leaders programs. Many of this year’s awardees are planning projects responding directly to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools and students. That includes new or expanded social-emotional and mindfulness programs at several schools to help students cope with the emotional impact of the last couple of years, as well as math and literacy programs to help students catch up from lost instructional time. Other projects include STEM equipment and programming and summer college tours for fifth-graders.

The Roberts Award honors the work of New Leaders alumni by helping them provide students with exposure to activities and resources that will build their cultural capital, encourage their curiosity, and spark their imagination and ingenuity via learning experiences that take place outside of the traditional classroom setting. By addressing disparities in the extracurricular opportunities available to students across the country, the Roberts Award supports New Leaders alumni to truly prepare their students for whatever path they choose to pursue in life.

“Made possible by Linnea and George Roberts, this grant program helps our alumni as they look for research-backed strategies to improve student learning, particularly as schools and teachers continue to help students recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic,” said Jean Desravines, CEO of New Leaders. “New Leaders is proud to help ensure these alumni can provide innovative programming that focus on both the emotional and academic health of students.”

The full list of winners is below:

  • Jacob Gran, El Cerrito High School (El Cerrito, CA)
  • Brittany Daley, Hamilton Elementary School (San Diego, CA)
  • Yalil Nieves, Mary Gage Peterson Elementary School (Chicago, IL)
  • Ryan Belville, McAuliffe Elementary School (Chicago, IL)
  • Andrew Chipman, Kelly College Prep (Chicago, IL)
  • Nicholas Dixon, Foust Elementary School (Greensboro, NC)
  • Lisa M. Calicchia, Katherine Johnson Global Academy (Baltimore, MD)
  • Renee Jones, Kingsford Elementary School (Mitchellville, MD)
  • Dr. Bertrand Tchoumi, New York French American Charter School (New York, NY)
  • Crystal Watts Peterson, Vollentine Elementary School (Memphis, TN)
  • Heather Lechner, TAF@Saghalie (Federal Way, WA)
  • Rictor Craig, Statesmen College Preparatory Academy (Washington, D.C.)
  • Natalie Smith, Global Citizens Public Charter School (Washington, D.C.)
  • Myron Long, Social Justice Public School (Washington, D.C.)

Learn more about the awardees here. To date, the Roberts Awards have funded 89 New Leaders alumni across 13 states at a total of $2,030,000.


New Leaders build the capacity of equity-minded school leaders who are committed to the success of every child. Our leaders remove barriers to success for underestimated and underserved students, supporting students in fully realizing their futures as the next generation of great thinkers, innovators, and leaders for our society.

In 20 years, we have trained more than 6,000 equity-focused leaders—sixty percent of whom identify as leaders of color. Our leaders impact more than 750,000 students in our K-12 school system annually and serve as powerful and positive forces for change in their communities.