Reston, VA — The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) today named Jeffrey Horstman, Sheri Murphy and Courtney Walker as the finalists for the 2024 NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year award.

Jeffrey Horstman, Mililani Middle School, Mililani, HI
Jeff Horstman in his fifth year as an assistant principal of Mililani Middle School and has worked with middle level students in the state for over 15 years. He began his educational career as a YMCA youth program director, found his way into the classroom teaching English to sixth graders and adults, and then listened to, mentored and coached preteens as a guidance counselor. He strives to make his campus a fun and fulfilling place for students by soliciting student voice, strengthening student/teacher relationships and ensuring all students are engaged with relevant learning experiences in a safe and nurturing campus community.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as a 2024 National Assistant Principal of the Year finalist,” said Horstman. “There are so many amazing school leaders in Hawaii and across the nation who share a common vision of providing students with safe and nurturing campuses where learning inspires and empowers them to make positive contributions to our nation and global society.”

Sheri Murphy, Frederick High School Frederick, MD
Sheri Murphy has served as an assistant principal of Frederick High School since 2018. She is in her 11th year as an assistant principal with Frederick County Public Schools. She began her career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing school based mental health services to K–12 students in both public and private schools. She is an advocate for equity and access for all students in education. Her passion for empowering and building leadership capacity in others is a driving influence for her educational leadership journey.

“Since becoming a member of NASSP, I’ve had the privilege to connect with remarkable school leaders nationwide, whose dedication and innovation continually inspire me to elevate my own leadership,” said Murphy. “From spearheading initiatives to enhance student engagement to fostering a culture of equity and inclusivity, my tenure as an assistant principal has been marked by achievements aimed at empowering our students and nurturing their success. I am profoundly grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to continuing this journey of growth, collaboration and impact.”

Courtney Walker, Carrollton High School, GA
Courtney Walker serves as the assistant principal of teaching and learning at Carrollton High School. She oversees master scheduling, remedial and gifted programs, student awards and recognitions, school improvement initiatives and professional development. The implementations of Professional Learning Pathways and Common Course Teams reflect her commitment to empowering teachers as leaders and improving student outcomes using data-driven instruction and shared leadership. She also supports school counselors in developing personalized academic plans tailored to student interest and ability to ensure students not only graduate enrolled, enlisted or employed but also engaged as leaders in their communities.

“I genuinely believe in shared leadership, so this honor is a testament to the collective efforts of the teachers, counselors, administrators and support staff within my school and district,” said Walker. “Together, we form a cohesive team, engaging in daily collaboration aimed at enhancing our ability to nurture, prepare and empower students to excel as leaders both academically and personally throughout their high school journey and beyond.”

“Mr. Horstman, Ms. Murphy and Ms. Walker exemplify the exceptional leadership that defines the very best in our schools,” said NASSP CEO Ronn Nozoe. “Their dedication goes beyond the call of duty, directly impacting the lives and futures of their students and educators in the most positive ways. We couldn’t be prouder to honor their incredible work.”

For the NASSP National Assistant 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 assistant principal to represent their state or department, from whom three finalists are chosen. The award recognizes outstanding middle level and high school assistant principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

The 2024 National NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year will be announced on April 5 at a gala bringing together National Honor Society Scholarship finalists and state assistant principals of the year. Meet this year’s state winners.

Photos and interviews available upon request.