INDIANAPOLIS — A local principal has been recognized by the Indiana Department of Education for her efforts to improve student attendance and literacy scores at Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School on the city’s near south side.

Kendra Randle, an executive principal at the K-8 Innovation School, was awarded the prestigious Milken Educator Award and received $25,000 in recognition of her academic leadership.

According to an IDOE press release, recipients of the Milken Educator Awards are selected for their leadership qualities and academic accomplishments, and how they have positively impacted the students under their care.

Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner was also in attendance to present Randle with the educator award.

“An exemplary educator and school leader, Kendra Randle is laser-focused on making data-informed decisions to move the needle for students at Emma Donnan,” said Jenner. “With a focus on science of reading to increase growth in foundational literacy and using family engagement to raise the student attendance rate, Ms. Randle is committed to ensuring that her students are in school and receiving instruction that will make a difference for them now and in the future.”

Randle has contributed to a recent increase in the school’s attendance rate, with the public charter school posting a rate of 92 percent in 2023 compared to 84 percent the previous year.

Randle was also hailed for her collaborative efforts to improve the literacy rates of elementary students as part of a wider initiative that was data-driven. The data was then utilized to make informed decisions when choosing specific components of a students’ literacy trajectory for kindergarten through third grade.

Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School is operated by Adelante Schools, which is a member of Indianapolis Public Schools’ Innovation Network as a public charter school.

While Randle currently serves as the executive principal on the Emma Donnan Campus, she also has prior experience serving in a variety of administrative positions for the school, including a stint as the founding elementary dean, principal fellow and elementary principal.

“Kendra Randle is a model instructional leader,” said Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Milken Educator from Indiana. “She holds high expectations for herself, her staff and her students while creating a warm, nurturing environment for everyone to grow. It is evident that Kendra has made an indelible impact on Adelante Schools, and I look forward to the contributions she will bring to our national Milken Educator Network.

Randle previously earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Kentuck State University and a Master of Arts from Union University.