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International Testing Official, Philly Principal Win Innovation Award

By Sam Atkeson — August 01, 2014 2 min read
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An international testing official, a nonprofit leader focused on improving math and science achievement, and a Philadelphia schools principal—whose work has been chronicled by Education Week—have been named the winners of the 2014 Harold W. McGraw, JR. Prize in Education.

The McGraw Hill Financial Research Foundation this week announced the winners of the award, which focuses on efforts to identify and narrow achievement gaps across the educational spectrum.

The 2014 recipients are Andres Schleicher, Sara Martinez Tucker, and Chris Lehmann.

Schleicher, who received the award in global leadership, is the deputy director for education and skills and special advisor on education policy to the secretary-general at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which oversees the Program for International Student Assessment—a prominent international exam that gauges career readiness among 15-year-old students in 70 participating countries.

Schleicher’s views on the importance of skills-based education for spurring economic growth worldwide can be found in an op-ed he wrote for Education Week earlier this year.

Recipient of the National Leadership prize, Tucker is the CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative and former Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. Tucker also previously served as the head of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund—a not-for-profit organization located in Gardena, Calif. that works to increase degree attainment among Latino youth.

Tucker shared her views on the importance of creating more opportunities for STEM learning—particularly for minority and female students—in an op-ed she wrote for Education Week last year.

Lehmann, who received the Rising Star award, is founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy. Located in Philadelphia, the academy was launched in 2006 as a partnership between the Philadelphia school system and the Franklin Institute. With an inquiry-driven, project based curriculum, and a focus on 21st century learning, the school seeks to tackle the achievement gap in STEM fields for highly qualified minority students.

Education Week has written extensively on Lehmann and his Science Leadership Academy, most recently in Ben Herold’s three-part “Innovation Gamble” series, which follows the Philadelphia district’s attempt to replicate Lehmann’s model.

“Closing student achievement gaps is vital to ensuring future generations have the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed,” said McGraw Hill Financial Board Chairman Harold McGraw III in a statement announcing the recipients. “All three of the winners have brought innovative thinking and scalable solutions that are helping to reshape the educational landscape.”

Each honoree will be presented with a $50,000 award during a ceremony at the New York Public Library on September 23rd.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.