NASSP’s recognition programs honor principals and assistant principals who are making a difference in the lives of their staff and students through outstanding educational leadership.

Principal of the Year

The Principal of the Year program recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the Department of Defense Education Activity select one middle level or high school principal to represent their state. From these state winners, three finalists are named as contenders for the National Principal of the Year award. The NASSP National Principal of the Year is selected from among the finalists.

Assistant Principal of the Year

The Assistant Principal of the Year program annually recognizes exemplary middle level and high school assistant principals and the significant role they play in student development. 

Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity, and the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools may select one assistant principal to represent their state. From these state winners, three finalists are named as contenders for the National Assistant Principal of the Year award. The NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year is selected from among the finalists.

Digital Principal of the Year

The Digital Principal of the Year program honors principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership in their drive to harness the potential of new technologies to further learning goals. Applications are submitted directly to NASSP, from which three winners are selected and announced each year. While the Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year programs recognize school leader success more broadly, Digital Principal of the Year winners must specifically demonstrate excellence in use of technology.