Leaders from Oklahoma, South Carolina, and North Dakota to vie for top honor

Reston, VA – Three exceptional school leaders have been named finalists in the 2016 NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year program for their success in raising student achievement and leading a culture in which students thrive. The three finalists will be honored at the NASSP annual conference, Ignite ’16, in February, where the national winner will also be announced.

David Beiler

David Beiler is assistant principal at Jenks High School in Jenks, OK, a school with 2,400 students in grades 10–12, and a 97% graduation rate. A former math teacher, Beiler leads the Jenks Math and Science Center and STEM activities, and he recently led the development of the student advisory program at Jenks to ensure a personalized environment for each student. More recently, Beiler helped lead the creation of a “continuous improvement team,” which gathers a team of teachers regularly to advance the school improvement efforts at Jenks. All of these efforts are driven by, in the words of one student, an attitude of “respect and care and a desire to see each person succeed and prosper.”

Lesley Corner

Lesley Corner is assistant principal at the 1,000-student Camden High School in Camden, SC, which currently is seeing the highest standardized test scores in the school’s history. The success is due in part to Corner’s leadership in creating the “high school 101” curriculum, in which core-subject teachers emphasize skills essential to success in high school and beyond. Corner led the infusion of backwards design at Camden, complete with a professional development regimen for teachers. That professional development includes having teachers observe one another and collaborate regularly. As a 1:1 laptop school, Camden relies heavily on Corner’s leadership both in guidance and an example for the effective use of technology to empower students to lead their own learning.

Holly Ripley

Holly Ripley is assistant principal at the 1,400-student West Fargo High School in West Fargo, ND, where she has helped lead through the challenges of rapid principal turnover and sudden growth due to North Dakota’s booming oil economy. She is known among students as someone who will challenge them now so they are skilled to succeed both during and after high school. Ripley provides that challenge by maintaining a laser-like focus on performance data, and she led the creation of a customized Multi-Tiered Systems of Support model to catch struggling students early and assist them appropriately. Yet, Ripley’s intervention goes well beyond the academic. Deeply pained by the death of five students in a single school year—two to suicide—Ripley became certified as a Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) trainer and teachers highly value the guidance she provides.

The 2016 National Assistant Principal of the Year selection process started in early 2015, when each NASSP-affiliated state principals association submitted their State Assistant Principal of the Year. A panel of school leaders and educational thought leaders reduced the field to 10, from which another panel selected the three finalists.

The finalists, along with all state winners, will be honored at the NASSP 100th Anniversary Luncheon during Ignite ’16 in Orlando, FL, February 25–27. The 2016 National Assistant Principal of the Year will be selected from among the three finalists and announced at Ignite ’16.

For more information about the NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year program, visit www.nassp.org/apoy.


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 and 35 countries around the world. 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.