Neubauer Fellows Win 6 of 7 Lindback Awards

We are thrilled that Neubauer Fellows won 6 of 7 of this year’s Lindback Awards for Distinguished Principals!

The Lindback Award recognizes school principals who make significant leadership and humanitarian contributions to their communities.  Principals must be nominated by a school-based committee that includes students, teachers, and parents.  Recipients receive a $20,000 stipend for their school community.

This year, the following Neubauer Fellows won the Lindback Award:

You can view short videos to hear our Neubauer Fellows reflect on this award in their own words here.

Thirty Neubauer Fellows have received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Principals since its inception.  Over the last five years alone, Neubauer Fellows won a disproportionate percentage of Lindback Awards – Neubauer Fellows represent 28% of current sitting principals but 69% of Lindback Award recipients.

Each Neubauer Fellow had a profound impact on their school community. For example, Key Elementary School nominated Principal Pauline Cheung for her tireless work to support students after the building closed in March due to the pandemic. Recognizing that students rely on school for stability, Pauline helped families with internet and Chromebook challenges, secured headphones for students with audio issues, and made home visits to drop off donated materials, food, and supplies. To address families’ food, job, and housing insecurity, Pauline expanded partnerships to make weekly food deliveries to families, distribute daily hot meals to community members, distribute hats and scarves during winter, and much more. “She goes above and beyond as she is invested in our students’ success and wants to make sure they are on an even playing field.”

Lisa Mesi, principal of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, revamped the high school selection process to expand access to students who showed potential but did not meet traditional criteria. To support students’ transition to high school, they started the “Keys to My Success” Summer Transition Program with 100 virtual attendees in August 2020.  Students took math, science, biology, and mindfulness classes and worked on success skills. Upper level students served as teaching assistants, and Alumnae welcomed the girls each day. Lisa secured external funding and partnerships to support this work.  Data from the summer program and current academic year indicate that students who participated have higher GPAs than students who did not and are more active in classes, volunteering, and extra-curricular clubs and activities.

Luke Hostetter led Baldi Middle School to close opportunity gaps in achievement for students that are English Learners, special education students, and students that came to the school multiple grade levels behind. These students demonstrated significant growth over the last three years, due to concrete changes the school made to prioritize their service, schedule, and instruction. Baldi plans to use the award’s stipend to develop a resource center for English learners and their families to continue to build on this progress.

At Barton Elementary School, Colleen Bowen engaged the school staff and community in discussions on race and equity as a way to meet the school’s high standards and provide an equitable education for students. Staff engaged in discussions on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in order to create an inclusive school culture. They will use the award’s stipend to build on this work as well as to implement trauma-informed instructional practices to support students.

Brian Johnson, principal of John Bartram High School, shared: “I arrived at John Bartram High School the last week of September 2019. Five months later, the pandemic came along and sent us all home. The challenge of learning a new school community and then leading during a pandemic provided additional challenges that would not have been possible without the development of critical relationships with students, staff, and community stakeholders as well as a highly functional leadership team. Although the circumstances of the pandemic caused us to be physically further away from one another, in many ways this experience pulled us closer together. With the establishment of vital relationships, structures, and systems our team has been able to support student and staff growth, increase student attendance, as well as academic outcomes during this time. Although 15 months together is a short time, our work together has been rich and purposeful.”

Each of the six Neubauer Fellow Lindback Award winners demonstrate innovation and commitment to results. We applaud each and every one of them!