New Leaders Announces 2022-23 Roberts Award Winners

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Eleven schools across seven states will receive grants of up to $25,000 to fund high-impact student enrichment projects 

NEW YORK, December 14, 2022 –  New Leaders announced the 10 winners of the Roberts Award for School Innovation for the 2022-2023 school year. Winners will receive grants of up to $25,000 each to fund high-impact projects for their schools in California, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Tennessee, Washington, and Washington, DC. 

The Roberts Award for School Innovation highlights the work of New Leaders alumni by funding student enrichment projects in schools served by alumni of the New Leaders Aspiring Principals or Emerging Leaders programs. The award helps school leaders respond to critical needs in their school communities. To date, the Roberts Awards have funded 78 New Leaders alumni across 13 states totaling $2.26 Million.

“We are grateful to New Leaders national board member Linnea Roberts and her husband George, who make the Roberts Award for School Innovation possible,” said Jean Desravines, CEO of New Leaders. “With their generous support, the program has impacted over 5,000 students each year, and I am eager to see how this year’s selection of ambitious programs utilize the grants to build the type of community fabric needed for student success.” 

As we emerge from a pandemic that disrupted the development of children in all facets of their education and well-being, awards were granted to New Leaders who proposed projects that address a specific academic, social, physical or emotional need and will have measurable and sustainable impact on the personal and academic growth of students. This year, winning projects include programs designed to create opportunities for high school students to explore colleges and career paths, encourage lifelong journeys as diverse readers, guide middle schoolers as they make positive social connections with peers and adults, and help students see themselves as leaders.

This year’s full list of winners: 

  • Alexander Kmicikewycz, Curie High School (Chicago, IL)
  • Dashe Rowland, LaSalle Language Academy (Chicago, IL)
  • Daniela Anello, DC Bilingual Public Charter School (Washington, D.C.)
  • Dara Gronau, Maplewood Middle School (Maplewood, NJ)
  • Dr. Heather Lechner, TAF@Saghalie and Washington Middle School (Seattle, WA)
  • LaDonna Braswell, North Parkway Middle School (Jackson, TN)
  • Rick Mohrien, Mint Hill Elementary School (Matthews, NC)
  • Robbie Torney, Lighthouse Community Public Schools (Oakland, CA)
  • Shelina Warren, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Washington, D.C.)
  • Vikki Stokes, St. Malachy (Chicago, IL)

Learn more about their winning programs here

About New Leaders

New Leaders builds 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 8,000 equity-focused leaders—sixty percent of whom identify as leaders of color. Our leaders impact more than 2 million students in our K-12 school system annually and serve as powerful and positive forces for change in their communities.