Oregon’s Katherine Holden of Ashland Middle School Honored During Assistant Principals Week

Today, Katherine Holden, assistant principal at Ashland Middle School in Ashland, OR was named the 2022 National Assistant Principal of the Year (APOY) for creatively guiding her school through a dangerous fire and pandemic. The announcement comes during the National Association of Principals (NASSP)’s annual celebration of Assistant Principals Week.

“This is such a surprise and an amazing honor,” said Katherine Holden 2022 Assistant Principal of the Year at Ashland Middle School in Ashland, Oregon. “For the last seven years it has been my mission to do everything I can to create a school environment where students feel safe and staff feel supported so they can be their best and have fun teaching and learning. As we come through the hardest two school years ever, I want to take this opportunity to give thanks to all assistant principals for the sometimes overlooked hard work to run schools and support our communities.”

This year, Katherine Holden led staff, students, and families through the stress of the pandemic and a fire that destroyed over 2,000 homes in her area with personal outreach and special recognition. After the fire struck on the first day of school, Holden transitioned her gym into an emergency shelter. Despite the lingering effects of the fire and pandemic, Holden made Ashland Middle School a positive, playful, and community-minded school. Every year she facilitates the annual Super Star Postcard Challenge, makes buttons to celebrate staff, recognizes students for their leadership and accomplishments, bakes birthday cakes, participates in silly holiday videos, and coordinates river rafting trips to strengthen culture and love of learning for teachers and staff.

“What distinguishes Katherine from other assistant principals is not just her ability to brilliantly manage an unmanageable job with grace or even that Katherine completes in one day the work that would take most people three days to accomplish,” said Steve Retzlaff, Principal of Ashland Middle School. “What sets Katherine apart is her drive to serve and support others. Katherine is focused completely on the social, emotional, and academic growth of the students she serves and the needs of the staff that work directly with them. Katherine will stop at nothing to make sure that students and staff have the support they need to succeed.”

“Katherine Holden is never afraid to try new strategies to best serve her students, and we’re so proud to recognize her with the Assistant Principal of the Year award,” said NASSP CEO Ronn Nozoe. “Whether navigating an unimaginable crisis or the day-to-day work of helping her staff be the best they can be, Katherine throws her heart and soul into her leadership and community. During Assistant Principal Appreciation Week, we encourage everyone to show their appreciation for their school’s APs working just as hard during these trying times.”

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.

Photos available upon request.