The search for the National Assistant Principal of the Year begins every fall as each state principal’s association selects its State Assistant Principals of the Year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selects three finalists.

2024 National Assistant Principal of the Year finalists

Jeffrey Horstman
Mililani Middle School
Mililani, HI 

Grades: 6-8
Students: 1,668
Region: Suburban

Jeff Horstman in his fifth year as an assistant principal of Mililani Middle School in Mililani, HI. He has worked with middle level students in the state for over 15 years. He began his educational career as a YMCA youth program director, found his way into the classroom teaching English to sixth graders and adults, and then listened to, mentored, and coached preteens as a guidance counselor. He strives to make his campus a fun and fulfilling place for students by soliciting student voice, strengthening student/teacher relationships, and ensuring all students are engaged with relevant learning experiences in a safe and nurturing campus community.

Sheri Murphy
Frederick High School
Frederick, MD 

Grades: 9-12
Students: 1,849
Region: Urban

Sheri Murphy has served as an assistant principal of Frederick High School in Frederick, MD, since 2018. She is in her 11th year as an assistant principal with Frederick County Public Schools. She began her career as Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing school based mental health services to K–12 students in both public and private schools. She is an advocate for equity and access for all students in education. Her passion for empowering and building leadership capacity in others is a driving influence for her educational leadership journey.

Courtney Walker
Carrollton High School
Carrollton, GA 

Grades: 9–12
Students: 1,824
Region: Suburban

Courtney Walker serves as the assistant principal of teaching and learning at Carrollton High School in Carrollton, GA. She oversees master scheduling, remedial and gifted programs, student awards and recognitions, school improvement initiatives, and professional development. The implementation of Professional Learning Pathways and Common Course Teams reflect her commitment to empowering teachers as leaders and improving student outcomes using data-driven instruction and shared leadership. She also supports school counselors in developing personalized academic plans tailored to student interest and ability to ensure students not only graduate enrolled, enlisted, or employed but also engaged as leaders in their communities.