Later this month, NASSP will announce the 2016 NASSP Digital Principal Award winners. NASSP launched this signature program in 2012 to honor principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership in their drive to harness the potential of new technologies to further learning goals. Since the program’s inception, we have honored principals in schools large and small, east and west, in small rural towns and metropolitan areas. Yet despite the different contexts, these tech-savvy principals demonstrate a few universal qualities:

Focus on the learning, not the technology. Principals are first and foremost the leaders of learning. What Digital Principals do differently is identify the learning opportunities new technologies offer. They see it as their duty not necessarily to understand the infrastructure bits and bytes, but to stay abreast of new digital developments that can empower students to learn more deeply and in a self-​directed fashion.

Connect. Learn. Repeat. As advanced as they are, Digital Principals still commit to their own learning. And they learn so openly and transparently that they can’t help but model learning to their faculties. Foundational to ongoing development is their connectedness. Social media breaks the isolation so many principals experience, and it expands their vision beyond their own school, district, or state.

Challenge assumptions. When you ask questions and identify real expectations, you suddenly discover that Digital Principals may have more flexibility in the master schedule, greater latitude to shift funds to align with priorities, and more time to invest in development and to connect with peers.

Make it your professional New Year’s resolution to engage in these activities, and perhaps at this time next year, you will be one of the three leaders we honor with a Digital Principal Award.

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Best wishes for the New Year!

JoAnn Bartoletti 
Executive Director, NASSP