Reston, VA—The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) today named Joey Jones, Lindsa McIntyre, and Kerensa Wing as the finalists for the 2020 NASSP National Principal of the Year (POY) award. Each of these principals has succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions—including student wellness, collaborative leadership, innovation, and strategic management—to the profession.

Joey Jones

Joey Jones, Robert Frost Middle School, Rockville, MD

Jones strives for “PIE” in everything he does by seeking professionalism, integrity, and excellence. By instilling this mindset in himself and his staff, he has created a supportive learning environment that fosters a culture of well-being for each student. In fact, a recent school survey reported that more than 90 percent of students said they feel safe and that their teachers have high expectations for them to do well, and nearly 93 percent of staff said they would recommend Robert Frost Middle School as a good place to work. Culturally relevant teaching also plays a part in student wellness at the school. Jones and his team have facilitated student-to-student discourse to promote the sharing of peer perspectives; used authentic texts to reflect the diversity of the student population; and promoted asset thinking versus deficit thinking, where all students are viewed as “at promise” rather than some students being singled out as “at risk.” Furthermore, Jones focuses on developing fellow leaders and, over the past 17 years, has trained 14 award-winning educational leaders who have become associate superintendents, principals, or assistant principals.

Lindsa McIntyre

Lindsa McIntyre, Jeremiah E. Burke High School, Dorchester, MA

McIntyre was tasked with making big changes in her community after Jeremiah E. Burke High School was designated as a turnaround school—but it didn’t take her long to deliver results. She immediately engaged in a rigorous and inclusive redesign process in collaboration with a team of stakeholders and partners. Through collaborative leadership and innovation, she channeled her passionate interaction with the community; used targeted interventions to drive change in school culture, educator development, and personalized instruction; and fostered a collective belief in the whole child and the need to mitigate nonacademic needs of the student—ultimately transforming Burke High School into one of the safest schools in the district. McIntyre also adopted four core values into the school community: respect, responsibility, collaboration, and perseverance. These core values created a common language that established a shared school vision and mission that could be implemented into classrooms and shared spaces. While her focus is always on advancing each individual student, McIntyre also devotes her time to the professional development of her team, leading to a shared leadership model. She and her team have worked together to strengthen their instructional core by building authentic relationships between students, teachers, and content.

Kerensa Wing

Kerensa Wing, Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, GA

Wing believes that every student deserves a great teacher, which is why she makes a concerted effort to hire teachers who are content experts and student-focused in their approach. Because the classroom teacher has an enormous impact on student growth, she views her job of hiring, retaining, and training the best teachers as the most efficient path toward equity for students. She works with her staff in a professional learning community structure, implementing scheduling changes to accommodate common planning and collaboration time using research-based practices for students. As a result, student performance on state assessments rose between 3 and 13 percent in proficient and distinguished levels on all tests. Additionally, Wing chartered 27-minute advisement periods, where students have a standing appointment with a teacher who is responsible for connecting with and advocating for every student in their group. The weekly advisement schedule includes time for reading, goal setting, lessons, special interests, and more. Wing also gives herself time with students through an open-door policy and meets with students whenever they make a request.

“Great schools have great leaders, and Mr. Jones, Ms. McIntyre, and Ms. Wing are prime examples of principals who have purposefully and deliberately applied their leadership skills to support the needs of their schools,” stated NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “We are excited to honor these three principals for building unique school cultures with the goal of preparing each student for lifelong success, while also cultivating teachers and staff to meet their own professional ambitions.”

Principal of the Year finalists will be recognized at the 2019 NASSP Principals Institute, an event that convenes state principals from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the U.S Department of Defense Education Activity. The event will be held in Washington, D.C., September 30–October 3, 2019, and will involve a series of professional development activities and meetings with congressional members.

The 2020 National Principal of the Year will be announced in October during National Principals Month. For more information, please visit

About the POY program

The NASSP Principal of the Year (POY) program honors State Principals of the Year from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity. Out of these exceptional school leaders, three are selected as finalists and one is ultimately selected for the National Principal of the Year award. 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.

For more information on the POY program, please visit


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 Student Council.