Dr. Lamont Browne, head of EastSide Charter School, is one of two principals to receive the Ryan Award, given to leaders who help close the achievement gap.

Since Browne took over in 2011, EastSide's test scores have risen considerably. In the process, Browne has become a rising star on the Delaware education scene.

During the push to turn around six low-performing Wilmington schools, state officials cited Browne's work as proof that struggling urban schools can make dramatic gains.

Earlier this year, Browne and the EastSide board intervened when the state threatened to shutter a charter school rocked by financial malfeasance. Browne's willingness to run the beleaguered school on an interim basis played a key role in the state's decision to keep it open.

The Ryan Award--now in its third year--is given out by the Accelerate Institute, which, according to its website, focuses on "closing the achievement gap by creating high impact school leaders." The Institute was formed by Pat Ryan Jr., a charter school founder and businessman from Chicago. Ryan's father, Pat Ryan Sr., is a billionaire insurance executive and former head of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee.

As part of his award, Browne will receive $25,000 from the Accelerate Institute as well as an opportunity to teach at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.