2016 Merit Awards Program

Magnet School of Merit Awards recognize member magnet schools/programs that demonstrate a high commitment to academic standards, curriculum innovation, desegregation/diversity efforts, specialized teaching staffs, and parent and community involvement.

The 2015-2016 Merit Award categories are: (1a) School of Excellence – Whole School Magnet; (1b) School of Excellence – Program Within-a-School; (2a) School of Distinction – Whole School Magnet; and (2b) School of Distinction – Program Within-a-School. The Magnet School of Excellence is the top merit award category and is only awarded to a select group of magnet schools. The Magnet School of Distinction is the second highest award of recognition. To receive a merit award member schools must submit an application that is scored by a panel of educators. Cash awards are provided to the top Magnet Schools of Excellence.


The Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award is considered the most prestigious award for magnet schools in the nation. It is given to only one school in the Magnet School of Excellence category. This award recognizes the work of Dr. Ronald P. Simpson, one of the founding members of Magnet Schools of America (MSA). Dr. Simpson worked in the Kansas City Missouri Public School System and served as the second MSA president from 1994-1995. Dr. Simpson made a positive impact on magnet schools and this award was established to commemorate his outstanding contributions to Magnet Schools of America. The Dr.Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award includes a $5,000 cash award presented to the winning school.

In 2006, Magnet Schools of America created national awards for elementary and secondary Magnet Schools of Excellence, both include cash awards of $2,500. The elementary Magnet Schools of Excellence award is sponsored by Magnet Schools of America and is named after Dr. Donald Waldrip, founder and MSA’s first Executive Director.

Established in 2006, the Hogan Lovells Award recognizes a New and Emerging Magnet School of Merit from the School of Excellence category. Recognized nationally for its leadership and commitment to magnet schools, the Washington, DC Law Firm Hogan Lovells is the sponsor of this $1,000 cash award.

2016 National Merit Award Winners

We are pleased to announce the recipients of our 2016 National Merit Awards. These schools will be recognized during our national conference in Miami, FL, May 3-7, 2016. Please click the links below to see a full list of winners. If you have any questions about the merit awards program, please contact our national office.

Awards » 2016 Merit Awards Program

Learn how to become a Nationally Certified Magnet School

Raise the level of performance consistent throughout school districts nationwide and creates a platform from which all magnet schools can flourish. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.

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