January 3 2023

Nominations for 2023 MELA Educator Awards due February 10

MELA grant promotional graphic

Achieve Twin Cities manages several grant funds that support Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) staff, classroom projects and field trips. This includes the Minneapolis Educator Leadership Awards (MELA), which recognize MPS teachers, principals, staff and paraprofessionals who work regularly with students in Title I schools.

Now in its eighth year, MELA provides annual grants annually for creative projects that impact student achievement, go above and beyond to better the lives of students outside the classroom, and improve our school communities. The awards are administered by Achieve Twin Cities in partnership with the John & Denise Graves Foundation.

MELA was created to provide opportunities for educators to recognize their peers, and the nomination and selection process is driven entirely by educators. MELA is proud to have a process that is entirely educator-focused and led, from nominations to proposals. Educators can be nominated by colleagues, community members, and even students. Selected nominees are given the opportunity to submit a proposal and winning proposals are selected by a committee of teachers and staff who are actively working in MPS and have won the award in the past.

In 2022, ten outstanding MPS leaders and educators were awarded a combined $90,000, including:

  • Adewale Adenodi from Patrick Henry High School: Student and Community Vision of Social Studies
  • Anita Chavez from Bryn Mawr Elementary: Self-Defense, Self-Esteem & Self-Empowerment
  • Jeffrey Darling from Edison High School: Books in Hands
  • Stephanie Doree from Lucy Craft Laney Elementary: A Playground Worthy of our Students
  • Kaytie Kamphoff from Patrick Henry High School: Henry Drama Club
  • Andrew (AJ) Molle from Transition Plus: Paint to Empower
  • Robert Rand from Webster Elementary: Nordic Skiing Power
  • Arielle Rocca from Patrick Henry High School: Ed Café and Employer Convening
  • Toby Schroder from Edison High School: Construction of Outdoor Classroom Space and ADA Accessible Garden Beds
  • Melodee Strong from Franklin Middle School: Rise Up Storytelling

Nominations for the 2023 awards are now open until February 10. To nominate an educator, complete this online form. You'll be asked how the person you are nominating demonstrates leadership outside the classroom, how their work shows an emphasis on educational equity, and how they demonstrate the ability to build relationships with others from diverse backgrounds.

Candidate finalists will be contacted and asked to submit a project proposal. For more information, contact Angel Jennings.