This October, NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) continued the annual tradition of highlighting principals across the nation during National Principals Month. All month long, students, parents, teachers, fellow school leaders, and even entire states—with 29 of them submitting congressional resolutions, along with the House and Senate—celebrated the impact that principals have on their students and school communities and thanked them for their unrelenting commitment and hard work.
“School is the place that propels hopeful students into their future. … It’s impossible to overstate the crucial leadership role principals play in turning a building into a vibrant, safe environment for learning,” said Christine Handy, NASSP president. “NASSP is proud to once again lead the October celebration of National Principals Month.” Hear more from Dr. Handy about National Principals Month in this short video.
To kick off the month, principals from NASSP, NAESP, and AFSA convened on October 3 for a briefing on Capitol Hill to analyze the problems they are tackling every day, including teacher shortages and creating a safe and healthy school climate. They also offered valuable insight into how the federal government can assist school leaders in addressing these problems in the future. You can view the full recording here.
The second ever National Principal Shadowing Week occurred on October 15–19, where legislators from the state and federal level, as well as their staff, joined school leaders for the day to experience firsthand the roles and responsibilities of principals. Visits included Rep. Larry Buschon from Indiana’s 8th District who shadowed Principal Aaron Huff of Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, IN. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) spent the day with Dianne Vumback at Meriden Middle School in Meriden, CT, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) visited Principal Greg Zenion of Chariho Middle School in Hope Valley, RI. Staffers from the Department of Education also participated and shared what they learned on their visits here.
Several digital celebrations also occurred in support of National Principals Month. The #ThankAPrincipal hashtag was widely used on social media, and a total of nine webinars were hosted to provide principals with free professional development opportunities. Topics included student success, combatting leadership burnout, college and career readiness, LGBTQ issues and inclusion tactics, and how to address the principal pipeline. Two of the webinars are available to view on demand:
Thank you e-cards were among the online acknowledgements as well, being sent throughout the month—and although this year’s National Principals Month has concluded, we encourage e-cards as a way to show your gratitude to principals for the entire year.
National Principals Month also brought with it two major announcements, including the National Principal of the Year: Dr. Lucas Clamp, principal of River Bluff High School in Lexington, SC. Dr. Clamp was honored for his exemplary school leadership and his flexible learning style that puts the main focus on the student. This learning environment has led to significant increases in achievement, including an increase graduation rates from 81 percent to 94 percent from 2014 to 2017. You can view the full recording of the award ceremony—which was done as a surprise in front of his students—here.
The second announcement was the winners of the Student Video Contest, where students worked together to submit a one-minute video about why they appreciated their principal. While every video showed the creativity, passion, and collaboration of each school that participated, three winners stood out from the crowd. One video from each level was awarded:
- Baton Rouge Magnet High School
Baton Rouge, LA
Principal: Nanette McCann
- Franklin County Middle School
Principal: Chris Bundy
- C. Austin Elementary
Principal: Dr. Jonathon Royle
Thank you to all the schools that participated in the contest and for your continued appreciation of your principals.
Visit www.principalsmonth.org to view the full details and events that took place this October as we honored principals from coast to coast during National Principals Month—it’s never too early to start brainstorming how you will thank your principals in October 2019!