KIPP Principal receives $10,000 award

ByOklahoma City Herald Staff

Tracy McDaniel, the founding school leader of KIPP Reach College Preparatory in Oklahoma City, has received a $10,000 excellence award. McDaniel was honored with the first annual KIPP Six award, which honors school leaders from throughout the national KIPP network of public charter schools. With 11 years at KIPP Reach, McDaniel is the longest-serving KIPP school leader to receive this award.

The KIPP Six award comes on the heels of last year’s National Blue Ribbon Schools awards from the Department of Education. KIPP Reach was named a 2012 Blue Ribbon School, and McDaniel also received the Terrel H. Bell award in recognition of his outstanding leadership.

Tracy McDaniel founded KIPP Reach College Preparatory in 2002. A 22-year veteran of public education, he is a member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and has been involved in numerous state and federal conversations on education policy over the years. McDaniel and KIPP Reach have been featured in national news outlets including NPR, Focus on the Family, and Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine. In addition to his duties as school leader of KIPP Reach, McDaniel is a member of the Oklahoma City Rotary Club and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

KIPP Reach College Preparatory is an open-enrollment, tuition-free public charter school serving 269 students in grades 5 through 8. Eighty-two percent of KIPP Reach’s students are African-American or Latino, and 83 percent are eligible for federal free or reduced price lunch. Since 2006, 100 percent of KIPP Reach 8th graders have scored proficient or advanced in writing, and 98 percent scored proficient or advanced in both reading and math. KIPP Reach students will return to school on August 19 for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

“I am honored to receive this award, and to be counted among so many remarkable KIPP educators,” said McDaniel. “My work over the past 11 years at KIPP has been focused on one mission: making sure our students at KIPP Reach get the kind of education that will open doors of opportunity for them throughout their lives. I am excited to continue improving and innovating as we work towards that mission at KIPP Reach in the years to come.”

The KIPP Six awards, which are newly established this year, honor KIPP educators who have been school leaders for six or more years. The award recognizes the vital role that veteran school leaders play in changing the life trajectories of students from underserved communities.

“As our longest-serving KIPP school leader, Tracy McDaniel is a trailblazer and an inspiration,” said Richard Barth, CEO of the KIPP Foundation. “I am inspired by his boundless energy, amazed by his tireless work advocating for his students, and humbled by how much he has accomplished over the past 11 years. He has helped set a high bar for all the rest of us at KIPP.”