Every year, NASSP recognizes assistant principals from across the country for their exemplary efforts in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students. The National Assistant Principal of the Year (APOY) program selects three finalists from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity, and the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools.

We are excited to announce the three finalists for 2019.



Lainie Kitzmiller
Empire High School
Tucson, AZ
Lainie led the charge to makeover her school in the 2013–14 academic year, and the results continue to be displayed on campus through updated curricula, a more targeted mission statement, and improved school culture. One of her biggest strengths is her ability to delegate roles and responsibilities in order to grow the strongest leaders. In fact, several of her mentees have gone on to serve a variety of positions across her district, as well as introduce culture-shaping programs that have been successfully implemented at Empire High School. Lainie focuses on building trusting relationships with staff and students, making each individual feel like a valued member of the school community. She sets clear expectations and does everything in her power to help her team exceed them, and the same practice is evident in the classrooms—which she visits on a weekly basis. Most important, Lainie embraces the diversity of her students’ learning abilities and backgrounds, and works to promote a culture of acceptance every day.

Meghan Redmond
Chief Ivan Blunka School
New Stuyahok, AK
Meghan utilizes local culture, language, and traditional values to inform her school’s instruction and decision making for the nearly 100 percent Yup’ik Eskimo Alaska Native student population. While the primary first language of her students is English, the Yup’ik language is still widely spoken in the community and Meghan and her team work tirelessly to revitalize it among the school-aged generation. Because of the rural nature of her school community, Meghan quickly identified the need to cultivate wider exposure to college and career choices—opportunities that are readily available in urban areas, yet difficult to come by in rural environments. In doing so, she seeks to give her students equitable access to the future of their choice. Meghan accomplishes this by helping fundraise, plan, and chaperone various student trips to destinations such as Anchorage, AK; Washington, D.C.; Florida; Hawaii; Chicago; and many more.

Gregory Schillinger
Rutland High School
Rutland, VT
As the largest city in a rural area, Rutland draws students from all demographics—so “urban,” “suburban,” and “rural” labels aren’t easily applied to Gregory’s student body. Recognizing this, he realized the need for an individualized approach to education in his school. In recent years, Gregory has led the transition from traditional teaching and learning practices to standards-based academia, and has successfully incorporated student participation into cocurricular activities to develop personalized learning plans. Gregory also oversees an advisory program which pairs each student with an adult who can serve as a personal guide to develop positive connections that lead to improved results. His hands-on, face-to-face approach to leadership embodies the “Every student, every day!” motto.

The APOY winner will be announced during National Assistant Principals Week, April 8–12, so stay tuned!

The winner and all state Assistant Principals of the Year will be recognized during the 2019 National Principals Conference.

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