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.

2017 National Assistant Principal of the Year finalists

Brad Currie
Black River Middle School
Chester, NJ

Brad Currie is all about making meaningful connections among people. According to a teacher at his school, “Brad Currie is a connector,” someone who links teachers with educators around the world and gets students tapped into the world via technology. Mr. Currie has been an administrator for nine years. In his five years as assistant principal at Black River Middle School, he has leveraged the power of social media and technology to enhance his skill set as a leader and impact the success of his students. And it shows-one eighth grade student noted how much STEM coursework was available, including courses not typically seen in middle schools. Furthermore, administrators, teachers, and students alike have noted how much Mr. Currie has done to “promote a safe, supported, and well-supervised place for all children to work and grow.” In addition to all of this, Mr. Currie is also the co-founder and co-moderator of #Satchat, a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders. 

Derek Fialkiewicz
Brian and Teri Cram Middle School
Las Vegas, NV

At the top of Derek Fialkiewicz’s priorities in school planning and improvement is results-driven collaboration. He engages key stakeholders in the education of students at Brian and Teri Cram Middle School and ensures they make informed decisions. He also strives to create a sense of community at the school. He has done that by increasing parent volunteer opportunities and creating Parent University, where parents can learn math so that they can help their children with their math homework at home. More than 80 percent of students who had a parent attend Parent University went up at least one letter grade in math. To combat below-grade-level reading abilities, he formed a monthly student reading club. It resulted in more than 75 percent of participants going up one letter grade or higher. Students particularly welcome Mr. Fialkiewicz’s efforts and value his creativity in developing activities to help them learn. 

Michael Pflugrath
South County High School
Lorton, VA

The principal at South County High School lauded assistant principal Michael Pflugrath for displaying “a special talent for helping individuals reach their full potential.” He does this by closing the achievement gap through focus on student-centered learning and student engagement. He created a student learning center, which allows students to get in-school writing and math tutoring. To supplement this, he also worked with his colleagues to develop an after-school tutoring program at Lorton Library. He has instituted a minority achievement weekend program for mentorship and college readiness. Through his efforts, reading SOLs showed that the achievement gap in Black students reduced by 4 points from 2014-16, while the math SOLs showed a similar reduction by 3 points for Latino students in 2014-16. Mr. Pflugrath credits shared leadership, goals with staff and students, professional development, and recognition of student achievement as helping close the achievement gap.