The Ryan Award is the first national award honoring transformational school principals in the Unites States. Awardees are principals of urban schools who have demonstrated transformative leadership that has resulted in dramatically accelerated student achievement. The Accelerate Institute recognizes the important and challenging work of school leaders across America who are giving students a chance by believing in them and holding student success as the only barometer to their own professional success.

The Ryan Award Nomination Form 2014


The Ryan Award recognizes principals of urban schools who have demonstrated accelerated results in underserved schools over a minimum of four years and serve a sizeable percentage of urban, low-income, and minority students. 

The Awardees will each receive a $25,000 honorarium and be featured as a special guest lecturer for The Ryan Fellows in the summer program of the Accelerate Institute at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Their stories and strategies will be profiled so that current and future school leaders can gain powerful inspiration and insight from their successes.

The Ryan Award was established by the Accelerate Institute and made possible by the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation.


Eligible principal candidates can be nominated from a variety of schools (traditional public, charter, and, private) and should meet the following criteria:

  • Accelerated Student Achievement
    • Demonstrated leadership in having accelerated student achievement in a nationally norm-referenced assessment (i.e. NWEA MAP or ACT’s EPAS) over a minimum of four years.
    • School Demographics
      • At least 80% percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch
      • At least 80%  percent of students from minority groups


For application assistance please email or  call 312.216.1716.

Upon acceptance of the nomination, Ryan Award candidates will be asked to gather and share further insights into their work and provide documentation of their success (i.e. recent accreditation review, parent/student engagement survey, data analytics tool) that aligns to the eligibility criteria.

Winners will be announced and receive an award visit in Spring 2015.  A celebratory event will be held in September 2015 to formally announce The Ryan Award winners.  



To nominate a principal for The Ryan Award, please fill out the form below with your contact information.  The next step in the process will be to provide the nomination’s contact information. 

Nomination Form