Reston, VA – The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has announced the names of three exceptional assistant principals from across the United States as finalists for NASSP’s 2017 National Assistant Principal of the Year.

Brad Currie (@bradmcurrie), Black River Middle School, Chester, NJ
Brad Currie is all about making meaningful connections among people. According to a teacher at his school, “Brad Currie is a connector,” someone who links teachers with educators around the world and gets students tapped into the world via technology. Mr. Currie has been an administrator for nine years. In his five years as assistant principal at Black River Middle School, he has leveraged the power of social media and technology to enhance his skill set as a leader and impact the success of his students. And it shows—one eighth grade student noted how much STEM coursework was available, including courses not typically seen in middle schools. Furthermore, administrators, teachers, and students alike have noted how much Mr. Currie has done to “promote a safe, supported, and well-supervised place for all children to work and grow.” In addition to all of this, Mr. Currie is also the co-founder and co-moderator of #Satchat, a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders.

Derek Fialkiewicz (@derwood73), Brian and Teri Cram Middle School, Las Vegas, NV
At the top of Derek Fialkiewicz’s priorities in school planning and improvement is results-driven collaboration. He engages key stakeholders in the education of students at Brian and Teri Cram Middle School and ensures they make informed decisions. He also strives to create a sense of community at the school. He has done that by increasing parent volunteer opportunities and creating Parent University, where parents can learn math so that they can help their children with their math homework at home. More than 80 percent of students who had a parent attend Parent University went up at least one letter grade in math. To combat below-grade-level reading abilities, he formed a monthly student reading club. It resulted in more than 75 percent of participants going up one letter grade or higher. Students particularly welcome Mr. Fialkiewicz’s efforts and value his creativity in developing activities to help them learn.

Michael Pflugrath (@socoap), South County High School, Lorton, VA
The principal at South County High School lauded assistant principal Michael Pflugrath for displaying “a special talent for helping individuals reach their full potential.” He does this by closing the achievement gap through focus on student-centered learning and student engagement. He created a student learning center, which allows students to get in-school writing and math tutoring. To supplement this, he also worked with his colleagues to develop an after-school tutoring program at Lorton Library. He has instituted a minority achievement weekend program for mentorship and college readiness. Through his efforts, reading SOLs showed that the achievement gap in Black students reduced by 4 points from 2014-16, while the math SOLs showed a similar reduction by 3 points for Latino students in 2014-16. Mr. Pflugrath credits shared leadership, goals with staff and students, professional development, and recognition of student achievement as helping close the achievement gap.

“The work of these three leaders reminds us that when you invest in leadership, you invest in learning,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti, “and their achievements show us how important increased student engagement is to improving student performance. We are honored to recognize these individuals for their commitment to their students, school, and profession.”

The 2017 National Assistant Principal of the Year will be announced in April 2017 during National Assistant Principals Week.

About the NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year

The NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year (APOY) program annually recognizes outstanding middle level and high school assistant principals who have made exemplary contributions to their profession and to their students’ learning. 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 selects one assistant principal to represent their state. Of these, three finalists are named as contenders for the award, with one being recognized as the NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year.

For more information on the APOY program, please visit


The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.