You worked hard to create an environment for healthy learning, growth, and development in your classroom—and finally all the hard work bore fruit. Your kids exceeded expectations, and you could finally lift your head up above the fray and smile with satisfaction and pride for your students. Then you got called in for a meeting with your principal who said something like, “You’re doing such great work with your students—imagine how much impact you could make with a whole school!”

We all know the speech because that’s how so many of us ended up leaving the classroom for administration. What we didn’t know at the time was how challenging and important the role and function of the assistant principal (AP) really is. Historically, APs were portrayed as disciplinarians and operations folks. Today, with the long-overdue shift toward distributed leadership, empowerment, and talent management approaches to school leadership, the role and function of APs have changed dramatically. APs lead professional learning communities, academies, schools within schools, teams of educators, and high-level key initiatives in alignment with school and district plans. In short, today’s APs are deeply embedded in just about every aspect of educational improvement at the building level which, as we all know, is the best and most powerful way to learn and grow—by doing the work in partnership with support from great mentors and role models such as principals, district leaders, and other APs.

That’s why NASSP, along with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators, designate a week in April as National Assistant Principals Week to honor APs’ unique contributions to school success. During the week of April 5–9, we encourage everyone in the school community to send an e-card to their favorite assistant principal and to celebrate them however your current setting allows. At a national level, you can look forward to the announcement of the 2021 NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year and various other features described at

Assistant principals, on behalf of NASSP, please know that we see you and we value you. The past year has drained your energy and tested your resolve. Yet the learning that continues during a pandemic and the renewed status of school as the center of so many communities testify to your resilience. Thank you for all you do to keep your community learning and thriving. Happy AP Week! 

Ronn K. Nozoe