NASSP Announces Digital Principals of the Year

Outstanding representatives of technology leadership hail from Delaware, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania

Reston, VA – The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is excited to announce its 2018 Digital Principals of the Year (DPOY). Each of these school leaders has excelled at effectively using technology to support teaching, learning, and school management in order to drive student success.

Kristina MacBury (@MacburyKristina), Sarah Pyle Academy, Wilmington, DE

Technology is the amplifier of personalized learning at Sarah Pyle Academy, a non-traditional, blended learning high school. Under MacBury’s leadership, each student’s personalized learning plan converted into a personalized learning portal, an electronic platform in which students can maintain their plans and portfolios of work. Just as important, teachers can now collaborate across disciplines on individual plans to guide each student’s blended learning program. The administration and faculty experimented with several tools until they found the right tool to match the learning vision. MacBury encourages the modeling of responsible citizenship in all digital interactions, and she encourages students’ authentic, purposeful engagement in social media by, for example, discussing gun-violence reduction and support for disaster victims in Puerto Rico. All the while, MacBury advances her own learning in her own connected network.

Brian McCann (@casehighprinc), Joseph Case High School, Swansea, MA

Brian McCann lives his mantra of “modeling expectations.” Under his leadership, Joseph Case High School hosts regular #edchats as well as local Edcamps to share best practices. The school also recently complemented professional development with a yearlong Tech-Know Tuesdays series, where McCann led teachers in 30-minute, lab-based trainings, each with a different digital focus. McCann’s technology-infused vision for student learning is facilitated by his loosening device restrictions, upgrading the school’s Wi-Fi, and increasing technology access by converting the traditional library to a learning commons. The impact on schoolwide teaching and learning is evident. The school’s Freshman Academy gets all incoming students comfortable with using Google’s G-Suite to engage in connected learning activities—which McCann models in his own connected professional learning—and teachers use FlipGrid to curate and listen carefully to their students’ concerns.


Mariah Rackley (@MrsRackleyCCMS), Cedar Crest Middle School, Lebanon, PA

Community outreach and building student agency are everyone’s responsibility at Cedar Crest Middle School. Recognizing the importance of social media for community relations, professional development, and student learning, Mariah Rackley launched a crusade resulting in 75 percent of her teachers maintaining Twitter accounts on which they share snapshots of learning in their classes and where they most recently participate in virtual book discussions. Most notably, Rackley led the conversion of traditional student hall periods to a common NEST period—but with an added twist. Teachers created a set of courses and content modules in the open-source learning platform Moodle to help students explore topics of interest and offer reflections on their learning. Courses are accessible to all students as a result of the school’s new one-to-one program and upgraded Wi-Fi network. The NEST period also provides access to the school’s new makerspace.

“Each of these principals is a powerful multiplier of effective practice,” stated NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “We honor the significant school improvements they have spearheaded and the strides they have made in empowering students in their schools.”

As DPOY winners, each of these principals will get an expenses-paid trip to participate at the 2018 National Principals Conference in Chicago, July 11–13. In addition, winners are eligible to apply for a full scholarship to participate in the McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders (MMPSL), a dynamic and highly interactive online leadership training program that will run from November 2018–July 2019.

For more information on the DPOY program, please visit www.nassp.org/dpoy.

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.