How the Awards Work

The Minneapolis Educator Leadership Awards (MELA) were created to recognize Title I Minneapolis Public School District teachers and others working regularly with students in a school, such as principals, paraprofessionals, and support staff, for their leadership outside their classroom or defined job duties. We hope to recognize and elevate hardworking professionals working hard to educate our children who do not get the credit they deserve.

The MELA nomination and selection process is entirely teacher driven.  Candidates for the award are nominated by their educator peers, and finalists are selected by a committee of teachers, administrators, and support staff actively working in the Minneapolis public school district.

The award comes with the responsibility of completing a proposal with AchieveMpls for up to $10,000 in funding for a one- or two-year grant to improve the nominee’s school. The committee awards up to $75,000 in grants annually.



The committee reviews nominations annually. Educators must be nominated by a peer. All identifying information is removed from nominations before being reviewed. Committee members who have a relationship with a nominee are prohibited from reviewing that nominee’s nomination.



To receive a MELA award, finalists chosen by the MELA committee must submit and commit to a proposal to make an impact on their school community.

Award Reception

An award reception will be held to honor recipients with their principal, school district administrators, and elected officials. Each award winner will be recognized for his or her outstanding work. The reception will also highlight recipients’ grant-funded projects.


In accepting the Minneapolis Educator Leadership Award, each recipient agrees to use the funds as described in their submitted proposal. The Graves Family Foundation will check in throughout the school year with award recipients to demonstrate their grant-funded program’s success. Updates will be shared with the greater Minneapolis community through this website.




As the strategic nonprofit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools, AchieveMpls‘ shared goal is every student career and college ready.
111 Third Ave S, Ste 5
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Educators 4 Excellence

Educators 4 Excellence


E4E-Minnesota works to ensure that Minnesota educators play an active role in shaping policies that affect our students and the teaching profession.
Educators 4 Excellence-Minnesota
212 3rd Ave N #485
Minneapolis, MN 55401

John & Denise Graves Foundation

John & Denise Graves Foundation

Advisor and Fiscal Sponsor

The Graves Family Foundation makes grants to high quality K-12 schools, school leaders, and advocates serving under-resourced families in Minneapolis and to organizations providing housing and social services to homeless and foster youth in Hennepin County.
333 Washington Ave N, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401