For Immediate Release
June 15, 2021
Executive Director, MSA
Magnet Schools of America Celebrates 2020-2021 National Award Winners
Washington, D.C. – Magnet Schools of America (MSA) announced its 2020-2021 awards recipients during the 38th National Conference on Magnet Schools, which was held virtually April 27-30, 2021. More than 1,000 magnet leaders and educators came together on the virtual conference platform to celebrate top-performing schools and learn best practices on curriculum, leadership and school design.
“These awards are a significant achievement,” said Todd Mann, executive director of MSA. “All of these recipients competed with a large number of schools and individuals. We are honored to have acknowledged their great work.”
All national awards recipients were officially honored at the National Merit Award Celebration on Friday, April 30. They included:
Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts (Clark County School District, Nevada) – Awarded the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence, MSA’s most prestigious award for magnet schools. Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts is a wall to wall magnet program in Henderson, Nevada, serving grades 6-8. Thurman provides opportunities for students to explore their stage, find a passion and develop their talents and abilities in all areas of the arts by working with local and national/international artists in the classrooms.
Wiley International Studies Magnet Elementary School (Wake County Public School System, North Carolina) – Awarded the Donald R. Waldrip Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence. Wiley International Studies Magnet Elementary inspires and empowers globally competent students to investigate the world, recognize and weigh perspectives, communicate ideas and take action. The Wiley community connects locally and globally through integrated units infused with the Common Core and Essential Standards, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) global competencies and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts (East Baton Rouge Public School System, Louisiana) – Awarded the Elementary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence. Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts is a nationally certified public Magnet school serving 464 students in grades K-5 while maintaining an A-rating from the Louisiana Department of Education for academic excellence. Harnessing the power of learning through the arts, students engage in an hour of arts instruction daily, which includes Dance, Drama, Visual Arts, Theater, and Music from certified professional teaching artists.
Connecticut River Academy (LEARN, Connecticut) – Awarded the Secondary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence. The Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) is an early college public magnet high school with a sustainability theme that focuses on advanced manufacturing and environmental science.
Paul W. Bell Middle School (Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida) – Awarded the President’s Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence. Paul Bell Middle School is an exciting, state-of-the-art facility located in western Miami-Dade County enriching the surrounding community it serves through the development of bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural students.
Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School at Seminole (Pinellas County Schools, Florida) – Awarded the New & Emerging Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence. Richard O Jacobson Technical High School at Seminole (Tech High) is Pinellas County Schools only high school dedicated to academic excellence in conjunction with technical career skills expertise.
Megan Heitkamp (Salk Middle School, ISD 728, Elk River, Minnesota) – Awarded the National Magnet Teacher of the Year Award, Megan has been a magnet teacher for a decade. As a magnet teacher, she has focused on both the small steps within classrooms that build into the giant leaps toward systemic school culture changes.
Lisa S. Noffo, Principal of Medical Academy for Science and Technology (Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Homestead, Florida) – Awarded Magnet School Principal of the Year. In only eight years, Principal Lisa Noffo has led the Medical Academy for Science and Technology (MAST@Homestead) to be one of the most diverse and successful magnet programs in the state.
Gia Moore (Clark County Public Schools, Nevada) – Awarded Magnet School District Administrator of the Year. Magnet Schools and Career and Technical Academies are the “shining stars” of the Clark County School District . For the past six years, Director of Magnet Schools and Career and Technical Academies (CTAs) Gia Moore has worked to ensure this description is true. She provides leadership in the development and/or revision of magnet school curriculum by working with existing and new magnet schools to ensure that student success is the ultimate goal.
Michael A. Grego, Ed.D. (Pinellas County Schools, Florida) – Awarded Magnet School Superintendent of the Year, Superintendent Michael Grego’s dynamic and visionary leadership has led to record graduation rates, monumental school improvement and successful efforts to narrow the achievement gap.
East Baton Rouge Parish School System (Louisiana) – Awarded the Donna Grady-Creer District Award for Magnet Sustainability. The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is currently the second largest public school system in the state, serving more than 41,000 students. Through the hard work and dedication of over 5,000 employees, approximately 3,000 are teachers, the district continues to show a strong and steady increase in its average District Performance Score (DPS).
Magnet schools are innovative public schools that use theme-based curricula to attract students from across different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. These schools are open and accessible to all students, and most use a lottery system or other non-academic criteria for admission.
Operated by and accountable to school districts, magnet schools are the original and largest form of public school choice. There are currently 4,340 magnet schools, serving nearly 3.5 million students across 46 states and the District of Columbia.
For more information on magnet schools, visit https://magnet.edu/
Printer-friendly version available here.
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.