Holly Ripley announced as the nation’s top AP during NASSP’s Ignite ’16 conference

Holly RipleyReston, VA — Holly Ripley of West Fargo High School in West Fargo, ND, has been named the 2016 NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year for her success in raising student achievement and leading a culture in which students thrive. The announcement came during the NASSP 100th Anniversary Luncheon at its national conference, Ignite ’16.

Ripley has helped lead the 1,400-student school through the challenges of frequent 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 System of Supports 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.

“Mrs. Ripley is passionate about each of her students and works directly with teachers and families to provide support and resources whenever possible,” said West Fargo Principal Jennifer Fremstad. “Her relationships with students are professional, encouraging, and respectful. They trust that they can count on Mrs. Ripley to provide support, to provide expectations, and to help them meet their goals while in school in addition to their post-secondary goals.”

The 2016 National Assistant Principal of the Year selection process started in late 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. A final group of judges then selected Ripley from the finalist pool, which also included David Beiler of Oklahoma and Lesley Corner of South Carolina. Ripley, along with the finalists and state winners, was honored earlier today at the NASSP 100th Anniversary Luncheon during NASSP’s annual conference, Ignite ’16, in Orlando, FL.

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.