Richard “Dick” Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award

The Richard “Dick” Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor that can be awarded by the Middle Level Education Research Special Interest Group (MLER SIG). The award is named for Dick Lipka who is the founding father and guiding force in the MLER SIG. The award is given only when an individual has demonstrated a level of service and leadership in middle grades education that warrants this special recognition. For more information about the award including a brief description, eligibility criteria, nomination process, and timeline, open the following link: Richard “Dick” Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award – 2024

Deadline January 1, 2024

Direct questions to Dr. Cheryl Ellerbrock at



David Strahan  was the 2020 Richard “Dick” Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Dave is currently the Taft B. Botner Distinguished Professor of Middle Grades Education at Western Carolina University

Dave Strahan’s impact on middle level education has spanned five decades. He has been a prolific scholar, effective teacher educator, and engaged leader and colleague.

Dave has produced an enduring record of impactful scholarship in middle level education. He has more than 130 professional publications to date, including the influential books Promoting Harmony: Young Adolescent Development and School Practices and Mindful Learning: Teaching Self-Discipline and Academic Achievement. His work has appeared in every major middle level venue as well as highly respected journals with a general readership including Teacher Education Quarterly, The Clearing House, Journal of Teacher Education, Elementary School Journal, NASSP Bulletin, and Journal of Early Adolescence.

Dave has served in numerous leadership roles in the field, including recent terms of service as chair of the AMLE Research Advisory Committee, executive advisor to the MLER SIG, and a member of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. During his long, impactful career, Dave also served as editor of Middle Grades Research: Selected Studies (the precursor to Research in Middle Level Education), was president of North Carolina Professors of Middle Level Education, and was a member of the board of directors of the North Carolina Middle School Association. This is just a sampling of many ways Dave has actively served middle level education through local, state, regional, and national organizations.


Micki M. Caskey Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Graduate School of Education Portland State University Dr. Micki Caskey is a highly respected leader in the field of middle level education. Dr. Caskey is a distinguished scholar, author, mentor, and colleague, and for her influential leadership in middle level education, she was selected as the 2014 recipient of the Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Caskey is the former chair of the Middle Level Education Research SIG of AERA. She is a regular presenter at AMLE and AERA on topics of interest to middle level educators and researchers, and her record of scholarship includes 10 books, more than 50 articles and book chapters, and the editorship of one of middle level education’s premiere journals Research in Middle Level Education Online. In 2013, the Association for Middle Level Education recognized Dr. Caskey with the prestigious John Lounsbury Award.

Vincent A. Anfara, Jr. Professor and Chair Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Dr. Anfara is the first recipient of the Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award due to his longtime leadership and service in middle grades education. He is the series editor of The Handbook of Middle Level Education Research, former executive advisor of the MLER SIG, past chair of the MLER SIG, and past chair of the National Middle School Association’s Research Advisory Committee. His scholarly work includes 14 books and more than 80 articles.