Outstanding representatives of technology leadership hail from Alaska, New Jersey, and Oregon

Reston, VA – The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is excited to announce its 2017 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.

Jamie Richardson (@JamieR42), LaCreole Middle School, Dallas, OR

Looking beyond traditional education methods, Richardson has developed a school culture where staff and students use a variety of tools to solve problems, communicate, and promote a cohesive yet personalized learning environment. Teachers and students describe him as an exceptional advocate for technology and digital-age learning and a catalyst for implementing technology, makerspaces, and project-based learning programs. Richardson ensures that all teachers get time to learn and discuss technology integration and that, through social media, parents stay connected to the school. One parent remarked that in the three-plus years that she has known Richardson, she has witnessed how the school has transformed to include exciting opportunities to learn and integrate technology in both traditional and nontraditional classroom environments.

Jethro Jones (@jethrojones), Kodiak Middle School, Kodiak, AK

Jethro Jones’ goal is to ensure that students have a nimble educational experience, with the help of the best technology that they need. He initiated innovative school schedules to incorporate STEM-, CTE-, and arts-based exploratory classes as well as independent study. Because Kodiak Middle School is near a Coast Guard base, Jones has used FaceTime or Skype to connect students moving from other coastal U.S. cities to students at Kodiak, in an effort to make a move to Alaska less intimidating. Aside from being the driving force behind technology integration at the school, Jones is also the host of Transformative Principal, a podcast featuring interviews with principals, leaders, and influencers who help improve K–12 education throughout the world.

Stephen Santilli (@SPSantilli), William Davies Middle School, Mays Landing, NJ

During Stephen Santilli’s time as principal, William Davies Middle School went from having a slew of concerns—teacher turnover, state demands, unhappy students—to a positive environment where students and staff feel inspired and have access to new realms of learning. Santilli is passionate about using technology as a means of communication throughout the community, school, and globally to enhance learning and partnerships. Teachers have conventional and unconventional options for professional development related to technology usage and students are able to use social media and other online resources to personalize their education. Parents aren’t left out either—Santilli hosted South Jersey’s first-ever ParentCamp, where educators, parents, and leaders from across the state joined together to discuss matters of education, including having a tech-savvy school.

“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 implementing a 21st-century education at their schools.”

As DPOY winners, each of these principals will get an expenses-paid trip to present at the 2018 NASSP National Conference. Through the generous support of Jostens, they will also get full access to a three-part highly interactive online leadership training program, the McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders.

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


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 Association of Student Councils.