Reston, VA—At the start of National Principals Month, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) today named Sham Bevel, Andrew Farley and Kimberly Winterbottom the 2024 NASSP National Principal of the Year finalists. This annual award recognizes outstanding secondary school principals’ exemplary contributions to their schools, staff, students and the profession. 

“Ms. Bevel, Mr. Farley and Ms. Winterbottom are game-changing principals whose focus on equity and excellence has transformed their schools,” said NASSP CEO Ronn Nozoe. “By intertwining innovative mental wellness initiatives with academic rigor, they’ve reshaped what education means for their kids, ensuring that every student is not only academically challenged but emotionally nurtured. Their accomplishments have set the gold standard for what a 21st-century education can and should be, and we’re thrilled to spotlight their groundbreaking work.”

Sham Bevel, Bayside Sixth Grade Campus, Virginia Beach, VA

Sham Bevel’s education journey began in 2006 as a middle school science teacher in Norfolk, VA. She grew into leadership roles as the science department chair and data team leader, but her true impact was recognized when she became one of the most esteemed science instructional coaches nationwide. She then ventured to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she taught sixth-grade math and science. In 2015, she returned to Virginia, initially serving as a secondary science specialist, and then transitioning through roles as an assistant principal to her current position as the principal of Bayside Sixth Grade Campus. In her role, Bevel has integrated comprehensive literacy skills across subjects and diversified her math team’s teaching strategies, leading to dramatic improvements in Bayside’s state exam scores and earning the school distinction as a 2023 National ESEA Distinguished Award recipient.

Andrew Farley, Brookfield East High School, Brookfield, WI

During Andrew Farley’s decade as principal, Brookfield East has been named Wisconsin’s top public high school four consecutive years, and the school was recently recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for Exemplary Achievement in Gap Closing. Farley has led a school culture committed to academic and human excellence. Brookfield East’s Hope Squad, the first in Wisconsin, has developed student leaders to serve as ambassadors for wellness throughout the school, community and region. Farley has ensured all students have access to rigorous, capstone educational experiences with a remarkable 99% of the Class of 2022 taking at least one college-credit bearing course prior to graduation. Through a commitment to literacy instruction, students have excelled with a result of an ACT composite of 23.5 for the class of 2023, including 24.1 in reading. Brookfield East’s Advanced Placement program offered over 1,200 Advanced Placement tests to approximately 600 students.

Kimberly Winterbottom, Marley Middle School, Glen Burnie, MD

Principal of Marley Middle School for nearly a decade, Kimberly Winterbottom stands out for her transformative leadership. She’s enhanced structures, school culture and strategies to elevate teaching proficiency and boost student outcomes, narrowing achievement disparities. When she arrived at Marley, her students were the lowest performing out of the 19 middle schools in the county. Through fostering collaboration and implementing evidence-based practices, the students at Marley have outperformed 16 of the 19 middle schools in district math assessments. Sixth-grade students’ scores in language arts grew from 14.6% proficient and advanced to 40.2%. Winterbottom’s unwavering focus on safety and inclusion catalyzed Marley Middle’s unprecedented turnaround, cutting behavior referrals by more than half.

For the NASSP Principal of the Year program, each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools and the Department of Defense Education Activity select one middle level or high school principal to represent their state or department, from whom three finalists are chosen. The award recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

The 2024 NASSP National Principal of the Year will be selected from among the finalists and announced October 20th at a gala in Washington, DC. To read more about each of the principals of the year, visit