The search for the National Principal of the Year begins every spring as each state principal’s association selects its State Principals of the Year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selects three finalists.
2020 NASSP National Principal of the Year finalists
Robert Frost Middle School
Joey Jones strives for “PIE” in everything he does—not the delicious pastry, but instead he seeks professionalism, integrity, and excellence. By instilling this mindset in himself and his staff, he has created a supportive learning environment that fosters the wellness dimension of Building Ranks™. In fact, a recent school survey reported that more than 90 percent of students said they feel safe and their teachers have high expectations for them to do well, and nearly 93 percent of staff said they would recommend Frost as a good place to work. Culturally relevant teaching at Frost also plays a part in student wellness as well as global-mindedness, where Joey and his team have facilitated student-to-student discourse to promote the sharing of peer perspectives; used authentic texts to reflect the diversity of the student population; and promoted asset thinking versus deficit thinking, where all students are viewed as “at promise” rather than some students being singled out as “at risk.” Furthermore, Joey focuses on developing fellow leaders and, over the past 17 years, has trained 14 award-winning educational leaders who have become associate superintendents, principals, or assistant principals.
Jeremiah E. Burke High School
Lindsa McIntyre was tasked with making big changes in her community after Jeremiah E. Burke High School was designated as a turnaround school—but it didn’t take her long to deliver results. She immediately engaged in a rigorous and inclusive redesign process in collaboration with a team of stakeholders and partners. Through Building Ranks dimensions of collaborative leadership and innovation, she channeled her passionate interaction with the community; used targeted interventions to drive change in school culture, educator development, and personalized instruction; and fostered a collective belief in the whole child and the need to mitigate nonacademic needs of the student—ultimately transforming Burke High School into one of the safest schools in the district. Lindsa also adopted four core values into the school community: respect, responsibility, collaboration, and perseverance. These core values created a common language that established a shared school vision and mission—another Building Ranks dimension—that could be implemented into classrooms and shared spaces. And while her focus is always on advancing each individual student, Lindsa also devotes her time to the professional development of her team, leading to a shared leadership model. She and her team have worked together to strengthen their instructional core by building authentic relationships between students, teachers, and content.
Collins Hill High School
Kerensa Wing believes that every student deserves a great teacher, which is why she embodies the Building Ranks dimension of human capital management as well as strategic management to make a concerted effort to hire teachers who are content experts and student-focused in their approach. Because the classroom teacher has an enormous impact on student growth, she views her job of hiring, retaining, and training the best teachers as the most efficient path toward equity for students. She works with her staff in a professional learning community (PLC) structure, implementing scheduling changes to accommodate common planning and collaboration time using research-based practices for students. As a result, student performance on state assessments rose between 3 percent and 13 percent in proficient and distinguished levels on all tests. Additionally, Kerensa chartered 27-minute advisement periods, where students have a standing appointment with a teacher who is responsible for connecting with and advocating for every student in their group. The weekly advisement schedule includes time for reading, goal-setting, lessons, special interests, and more. Kerensa also gives herself time with students through an open door policy and meets with students whenever they make a request.