National Assistant Principal of the Year Winners

The role of the assistant principal has changed dramatically in recent years—today’s assistant principals are involved in all aspects of education, including curriculum development, research, personalization, and school-community relationships. The National Assistant Principal of the Year award winners stand out in their ability to excel in this ever-demanding role.

Since 2002, NASSP has recognized a National Assistant Principal of the Year.


2020 National Assistant Principal of the Year

Debra Paradowski

Debra Paradowski

Arrowhead Union High School
Hartland, WI

Grades: 9–12
Students: 2,139
Region: Rural

Three years ago, I started a student-centered group called Students Leaving a Mark (SLAM) to improve our school culture. By giving students a voice in our school’s routines, they were empowered, engaged, and became confident learners. Opportunities were created for students to demonstrate leadership skills and guide our school in the right direction. Students made decisions about topics they wanted to address and outlined their action steps. In a short time, the SLAM students had a direct impact on our school’s culture by adding murals in the hallways and positive messages on the stairwells. They painted the walls in study hall, renovated the staff lunchroom, and created meaningful ways to recognize student and staff excellence. Overall, we have observed an increase in positive behavior, attendance, academic accomplishments, and pride in our school.