November 9, 2023

Indianapolis principal awarded $25,000 prize

Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner presents the award to Kendra Randle. - Sydney Dauphinais/WFYI

Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner presents the award to Kendra Randle.

Sydney Dauphinais/WFYI

An Indianapolis principal was surprised Wednesday with a national award and $25,000 cash prize for her work in education. Kendra Randle is the executive principal of Adelante Schools on the city’s near southside.

Randle won the Milken Educator Award for her commitment to academics and building a positive school culture.

Often described as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the award recognizes early to mid-career educators across the country.

“Educators are the ones that set up every single occupation and job that we have,” Randle said after receiving the award. “Anybody that is in any type of occupation right now had a teacher once.”

Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson and Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner helped deliver the award in front of a gym full of staff and students.

“I would say of all the mentors and role models you have in this school, one of our top role models in Indiana is your principal,” Jenner said to students. “Watch what she does. follow her lead, see how she treats people. See how much she cares.”

There is no formal recommendation or application for the award. Recipients are selected in a confidential process.

Randle earned a Bachelor of Arts in teaching, elementary education, from Kentucky State University, and a Master of Arts in education from Union University. She previously worked as a classroom teacher, a founding elementary dean, principal fellow and elementary principal.

Adelante is a charter school that was selected by IPS in 2020 to restart Emma Donnan Elementary-Middle School. It is part of the district’s network of independent schools. Last year around 330 students were enrolled at the school, according to state data.

The Milken Family Foundation began presenting the award in 1987. Winners receive personalized coaching for instruction and leadership and are free to use the money however they choose.

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