A KIPP Indy teacher has been selected as a 2023 Harriett Ball Excellence In Teaching Award winner. Ms. Leeta Robertson is among 10 educators nationwide to win this year’s award and will receive $10,000 in recognition of his exemplary work in the classroom. Access pictures and the video when Robertson found out about the award can be found here.

When Ms. Robertson joined KIPP Indy in the middle of the pandemic, she was determined to give students the joy of performing arts even when they were stuck at home. As KIPP Indy Legacy High School’s first performing arts teacher, she has built a collegiate-level artistic program that started virtually and now includes students from all four KIPP Indy high schools. Thanks to her work, KIPP Indy Legacy High is now creating a state-approved performing arts graduation pathway!

Ms. Robertson serves as grade-level chair and has led the school’s current seniors to the strongest first-quarter academic results since they started at KIPP. Her students return to her class year after year, and say that the skills they’ve learned—piano, drumming, theater performance, and theater tech—are some of their proudest accomplishments. She builds relationships with teachers and community stakeholders through programs like “Embrace and Encourage a Senior,” providing encouragement to seniors who are nervous about embarking on life after high school.

“Three years ago, when I was searching for a performing arts teacher, I heard a story about a student who was so inspired by his teacher in middle school that he decided to major in music in college. Little did I know that this same teacher would join our team at Legacy High just months later and do the same thing for our 400 students.” – David Spencer, School Leader, KIPP Indy Legacy High School

The Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award is given annually to a select group of K-12 teachers from KIPP schools around the country. Teachers are selected for the award based on their track record of improving student achievement, their leadership in the classroom and throughout their school, and their commitment to equipping educationally underserved students with the skills needed to be successful in getting to and through college.

The Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award honors the legacy of Harriett Ball, a visionary educator and mentor teacher. A 35-year teaching veteran of Houston and Austin public schools, Ball incorporated chants, songs and movement to get her students engaged and learning in the classroom. In late 1992, Ball began mentoring Teach for America corps member Dave Levin in Houston. Inspired by her methods, Levin co-founded the KIPP in 1994.

KIPP Indy is a network of public charter schools located in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis. Across our three schools, we enroll 1,500 students in grades K-12. Together with families and communities, KIPP Indy creates joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose – college, career, and beyond – so they can lead fulfilling lives and create a more just world.