Effective school leadership is a major factor of student success.

“Principals set the culture of the school by their behavior—the message is the person,” says The New York Times columnist David Brooks. In March 2018, Brooks wrote, “Principals raise expectations and alter norms. The character traits successful principals embody and spread are: energy, trustworthiness, honesty, optimism, and determination.”

I know it. You know it. Researchers know it. And, increasingly, policymakers know it. While some would reduce our students to data points, students and schools succeed because the principal embraces the challenge of getting to know each student and empowering them to become their best selves. And so, NASSP is proud to once again lead the October celebration of National Principals Month.

Each year, NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) designate October as National Principals Month to honor the hard work and dedication of principals like you. Students, teachers, parents, and members of the community around the country will take this month as an opportunity to honor school leadership by sending e-cards, participating in a video contest, and planning celebrations.

NASSP, NAESP, and AFSA will also celebrate by encouraging Congress to introduce a resolution commemorating the month and by hosting National Principal Shadowing Week, October 15–19. During this week, we encourage you to reach out to your elected officials and invite them to shadow you for at least a portion of a workday.

For further involvement, be sure to participate in a National Principals Month webinar or NASSP action alert, or send e-cards to your fellow school leaders. As you post about how your school is celebrating online, don’t forget to include #ThankAPrincipal and follow the hashtag to see how others are observing the month.

NASSP’s 2019 National Principal of the Year will also be announced! You can find more information at www.principalsmonth.org.

The culture the principal creates affects every dimension of the school, and we thank you for all that you do to build the future we all share.


JoAnn Bartoletti
Executive Director, NASSP