May 16 2019

Nine MPS staff receive MELA grants for transformative classroom projects

MELA award recipients 2019
MELA award winners 2019

Our big congratulations to nine outstanding Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) teachers and staff who received over $75,000 in Minneapolis Educator Leadership Award (MELA) grants for projects that impact student achievement and improve our school communities.

Now in its fifth year, MELA was created to provide opportunities for educators to recognize their peers. Candidates are nominated by their colleagues and finalists are selected by a committee of teachers and staff who are actively working in MPS.

This year's winners and projects include:

  • Allison Dean, Edison High School: Human Trafficking: A Speaker Series
  • Morgan McDonald, Lucy Craft Laney Community School: Experience is Everything
  • Vincent Patton, South High School: Tatanka (Ta-tan-ka) and Giigoo (Gee-Goo) Harvest         
  • Pia Richardson and Carlyn Shanley, Jefferson Elementary School: Civil Rights Heritage Tour           
  • Paul Sommers, Justice Page Middle School: Bring Your Smelly Food to School
  • Jane Steiner, North High School: Empowering Student Voices through a School Culture of Poetry    
  • Chris Stoltenberg, our AchieveMpls Career & College Coordinator from Wellstone International High School: Alumni Internship Model
  • Laura Sullivan, Anishinabe Academy: Restoring our Earth and Regaining Food Sovereignty  

The MELA awards are administered by AchieveMpls in partnership with the John & Denise Graves Foundation and Educators 4 Excellence. For more information, contact Angel Jennings at or 612-455-1564.