Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Office of Overseas Schools, and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity will select one assistant principal to represent their state. State winners are selected from applications submitted to the state associations.

Because each state’s selection process varies, please contact your state association for more information on their selection process.

2024 State Assistant Principals of the Year


Charles Longshore

Dothan Preparatory Academy
Dothan, Alabama

Charles Longshore has served as assistant principal of Dothan Preparatory Academy in Dothan, AL, since 2022. Previously, he was assistant principal of Asbury High School. By focusing on restorative practices, he has helped change DPA’s climate and culture. The school has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of office referrals, and academic achievement has also increased. Under his leadership, teachers are continuing to grow in their craft and strengthen their instruction and classroom management skills. He hopes to build on DPA’s strong foundation while pursuing a doctorate in organizational change and leadership.


Kelly Stewart

Thunder Mountain High School
Juneau, Alaska

Kelly Stewart has served as the assistant principal of Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau, AK, since 2021. She is an accomplished educator with over 24 years of experience primarily working in special education programs. She has revitalized school culture by creating a safe and positive school environment and building relationships. Her top priority is collaborating with all stakeholders to design and implement educational systems that meet the needs of all students.


Tom Doppe

Don Tyson School of Innovation
Springdale, Arkansas

Tom Doppe has served as an assistant principal of Don Tyson School of Innovation (DTSOI) in Springdale, AR, for five years. He began his career in California where he taught English for seven years at the school he graduated from, Concord High School. For the next eight years he was part of the Martinez Unified School District as an assistant principal, principal, and director of curriculum and instruction. He finds the opportunity to work at an innovative school inspiring and has committed himself to being a learning leader, helping DTSOI achieve its vision of practicing competency-based education and certification as a Marzano High Reliability school.


Monica Luther

Orange High School
Orange, California

Dr. Monica Luther, a trailblazing secondary educator, has been a prominent voice for increasing educational access and opportunities for all learners. With Dr. Luther’s passion for teaching and learning, her 16 years of classroom and instructional coaching experiences naturally led her into administration. In just four years as an assistant principal, Monica’s visionary leadership developed strong systems to support school and district-wide initiatives. As a middle school and high school administrator, Dr. Luther has built lasting relationships with students, staff and communities. When not leading a school, Monica is a staff developer for AVID Center traveling the country to inspire and teach other administrators. Monica was named Assistant Principal of the Year for ACSA Region 17, and California State Co-Admin of the Year in 2023.


Kerith Stuebinger

Highlands Ranch High School
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Kerith Stuebinger, an assistant principal of Highlands Ranch High School (HRHS) in Highlands Ranch, CO, is a dedicated educator focused on creating academic opportunities and pathways that meet high school and postsecondary goals for all students. Throughout her 22 years at HRHS and 24 years in education, she has also served as an English teacher and dean of students. Her passion for students drives her work with career and technical education, assessment data and systems, PLCs, and state level testing. Whether it be through concurrent enrollment and AP courses, data-driven decisions, or CTE pathways, she dedicates her time and energy to connecting with students and helping them pursue their next endeavor.


Jarrid Clifton

Timothy Edwards Middle School
South Windsor, Connecticut

Jarrid Clifton is an associate principal of TImothy Edwards Middle School (TEMS) in South Windsor, CT. He began teaching at RHAM High School as a social studies educator, where he taught for ten years. Following the pandemic, he spearheaded a schedule overhaul at TEMS, a facilities usage project, as well as a school climate and culture initiative, “Cougars R.O.A.R.,”allowing for more equitable access for all students.


LuCretia Waskow

Ruckel Middle School
Niceville, Florida

LuCretia Waskow has been an assistant principal of Ruckel Middle School in Niceville, FL, for two years. She has also served as a high school assistant principal in the same county. As a military spouse she has taught in several districts across multiple states. She began her career as a science teacher before transitioning into administration. She works to cultivate an environment where well-being and safety are paramount, fostering an atmosphere conducive to productive learning and interactions among students and adults.


Courtney Walker

Carrollton High School
Carrollton, Georgia

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.


Jeffrey Horstman

Mililani Middle School
Mililani, Hawaii

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.


Bryan Kelly

Lake City High School
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Bryan Kelly is the assistant principal of Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene, ID. Now in his seventh year of administration, he spent 16 years in the classroom as an English and history teacher where he prided himself on student engagement and relationships.


Kristen Peterson

Chesterton High School
Chesterton, Indiana

Kristen Peterson serves as the associate principal of Chesterton High School (CHS) in Chesterton, IN. A former classroom teacher, she also served as varsity head coach for girls’ basketball, track, and cross country. An advocate for educator wellness, she prioritizes teacher input and wants educators to feel empowered to find success through fostering their individual strengths. With this in mind, she implemented teacher-driven and teacher-choice professional development structures as a means to best connect individualized support and information to teachers. She has connected her passion for student SEL support by creating an advisory period. Through her development of the CHS Internship Program, the school has joined forces with over 200 community partnerships.


Andy Werling

Muscatine High School
Muscatine, Iowa

Andy Werling has served as an assistant principal of Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA, since 2012. His focus on student pathways, postsecondary readiness, and the daily experiences of all stakeholders is evident to all who collaborate with him. Muscatine High School has seen numerous positive outcomes from the various building programs and leadership initiatives he has led. His ability to forge strong positive relationships, lead complex organizations, develop impactful systems, and prioritize what matters makes him an exceptional school leader.


Chad Nulik

Chisholm Middle School
Newton, Kansas

Chad Nulik is assistant principal of Chisholm Middle School in Newton, KS. A student-centered and teacher-friendly leader, he enjoyed a nearly 20-year career teaching high school theater before making the move to Chisholm where he has been integral in changing school culture. He is intentional in the time and effort he puts into students and staff to ensure a brighter future and a meaningful, educational experience for all.


Tiffini Brigola

Gueydan High School
Gueydan, Louisiana

Dr. Tiffini Brigola serves as the assistant principal of Gueydan High School (GHS) in Gueydan, LA, and has been in education for over 20 years. A former classroom teacher and instructional coach, she attributes her success in leadership to her diverse experience and extensive relationships with other educators. She earned her doctorate in 2023. Her dissertation, “The Whole School Optimization Model,” identifies and connects the critical elements needed to create and sustain authentic improvement in challenging times. During her tenure at GHS, the school has been recognized as a School of Distinction and School of Exemplary Growth.


Rebecca Wright

Ellsworth High School
Ellsworth, Maine

Rebecca Wright is assistant principal of Ellsworth High School in Ellsworth, ME, where has served for 38 years. A former music, theater, and dance teacher, she has had the pleasure of working with thousands of students in many capacities. She began her career at Veazie Community School in Veazie, ME. As assistant principal, she has implemented Rachel’s Challenge, a program that emphasizes compassion, kindness, and improving school culture. She also leads the Dropout Prevention Committee and spearheaded an initiative to bring a health center for students and staff to the school.


Sheri Murphy

Frederick High School
Frederick, Maryland

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.


Nicole Manning

West Springfield Middle School
West Springfield, Massachusetts

Nicole Manning is in her seventh year as an assistant principal of West Springfield Middle School in West Springfield, MA. Prior to becoming an assistant principal, she taught U.S. history at West Springfield Middle School for four years and began teaching U.S. history in 2005 at Roosevelt Middle School, in New Bedford, MA. Throughout her career, she has worked hard to forge strong relationships with students, knowing that students thrive when given the opportunity to meet high expectations. Her ability to communicate effectively, listen attentively, and collaborate with families has enhanced the school’s community and enriched the educational experiences at West Springfield Middle School. She has also awarded the Harold Grinspoon Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014 and received the “A+ Administrator” Award in 2020 from the New England League of Middle Schools.


Jessica Lupone

Bloomfield Hills High School
Bloomfield, Michigan

Jessica Lupone has served as an associate principal of Bloomfield Hills High School in Bloomfield Hills, MI, since 2019. She has impacted the school community by fostering student voice and focusing on school culture. As an associate principal, she has overseen the development of the master schedule, the IB Program, and student activities. Previously, she taught chemistry and served as a student leadership adviser at Bloomfield Hills and Lahser High School, also in Bloomfield Hills, for 19 years.


Lynn Jennissen

St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West

L.J. Jennissen has served as the assistant principal of St. Michael-Albertville (STMA) Middle School West in Albertville, MN, for 14 years. Previously, he worked in several school districts across the state as a teacher, principal, director, coach, adviser, and mentor. His transformative initiatives include revamping the Summer Academy Program, mentoring new assistant principals, and refining the Positive Behavior and Supports Program. He continues to inspire both colleagues and students alike, and he remains deeply rooted in his mission to cultivate excellence in education.


Nason Lollar

Germantown High School
Madison, Mississippi

Dr. Nason Lollar served as an assistant principal of Germantown High School in Madison, MS, for nine years. During that time he developed a passion for working with teachers to strengthen a culture of learning that focuses on data-driven decision-making to improve student achievement and build a culture that encourages teacher support and student growth. Previously, he spent 14 years as a mathematics and social studies teacher. Shortly after being named Mississippi’s Assistant Principal of the Year, he became principal of Madison Career and Technical Center.


Stephanie Grisham

Rolla High School
Rolla, Missouri

Dr. Stephanie Grisham has been assistant principal of Rolla High School (RHS) in Rolla, MO, since 2017. Inspired by her own high school principal, she began her professional career as a high school mathematics teacher at RHS. After 14 years teaching multiple subjects, from technical computations to AP Calculus, she became an administrative intern. A graduate of RHS, she strives every day to uphold the tradition of excellence and yearns to build a culture and climate where students and staff want to come to school.


Kathy Kidder

Capital High School
Helena, Montana

Kathy Kidder has served as the assistant principal of Capital High School in Helena, MT, for 15 years. Previously, she served as a middle school principal, and she has taught second through twelfth grades. Her passion lies in fostering collaboration among teachers to enhance instructional strategies and optimize opportunities for student growth. Her career has been marked by a commitment to teamwork, continuous improvement, and academic success.


Casey Lundgren

Millard West High School
Omaha, Nebraska

Casey Lundgren is an assistant principal of Millard West High School in Omaha, NE. He began his teaching career 11 years ago at Millard North High School. Millard West is recognized by the Nebraska Department of Education as an “Excellent” school. He attributes this success to the outstanding teachers and parents in the Millard Public Schools.

New Hampshire

Andrea Castaldo

Kearsarge Regional Middle School
Sutton, New Hampshire

Andrea Castaldo has served as the Assistant Principal at Kearsarge Regional Middle School in Sutton, New Hampshire since 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Education in Secondary English Language Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Andrea is currently working toward her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. In her role as Assistant Principal, Andrea prides herself in building strong relationships with students, staff, and community members. Andrea has played a key role in her school’s development of MTSS and adoption of Competency-Based Education.


Zeola Braxton

Clark High School
Las Vegas, Nevada

Zeola Braxton has served as the principal of Clark High School in Las Vegas, NV, since 2024. Previously, she served as assistant principal for four years. She began her career in the Clark County School District in 2004 as a biology teacher. As an assistant principal, she played a critical role in the significant growth of the school’s career and technical education and dual enrollment programs. She has a passion for motivating students and providing the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful transition into life after high school.

New Mexico

Charda Sanders

Aztec High School
Aztec, New Mexico

Charda Sanders has served as the assistant principal of Aztec High School in Aztec, NM, since 2021. Previously, she served as the assistant principal of Lydia Rippey Elementary School. With a passion for students, she is known for being the heart and soul of Aztec High. With 28 years of experience in education, she has consistently demonstrated expertise in building relationships with students, staff, and the community. As a first-generation high school and college graduate, she brings a unique perspective to addressing situations within the school and community. She also has a unique talent for assisting staff and students in realizing their potential.

New York

John Kolesar

North Rockland High School
Thiells, New York

John Kolesar is an assistant principal of North Rockland High School in Thiells, NY. His three-decade career in education includes 12 years as a classroom teacher, with a notable focus on kindergarten instruction. His leadership roles include principalships at Greenwood Lake Elementary School and Warwick Valley Middle School, as well as serving as assistant superintendent/director of human resources at Warwick Valley Central School District and South Orangetown Central School District. As assistant principal of North Rockland, he has contributed significantly to academic excellence.

North Carolina

Dr. Shameka Joyner

Pine Forest Middle School
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Dr. Shameka Joyner is the vice principal of Pine Forest Middle School in Fayetteville, NC. She began her teaching career as a substitute teacher for Cumberland County Schools right after graduating from high school in 2002. As an advocate for literacy and reading, she has taught night classes at Fayetteville Technical Community College for students trying to obtain their high school diploma or GED. During the pandemic, she provided free virtual tutoring in reading comprehension to students who needed it. Her school district was one of very few to still continue face-to-face learning throughout the majority of the pandemic. As her school district transferred to virtual learning, she was the administrator who organized lunch delivery to students daily and enjoyed riding the school buses to deliver meals.

North Dakota

Stephanie Hochhalter

North Shore Plaza
Plaza, North Dakota

Stephanie Hochhalter has served as assistant principal of North Shore Plaza High School in Plaza, ND, since 2020. Passionate about addressing rural school challenges, she actively supports the school by coaching athletic teams, teaching, and managing various grants. Her understanding of multifaceted responsibilities informs her approach to educational leadership. She is a third-generation educator following in her father’s footsteps as a principal. She attributes her success to her district’s supportive leadership, dedicated staff, amazing students, and extraordinary community.


Kristen Clausen

Hilliard Davidson High School
Hilliard, Ohio

Kristen Clausen is assistant principal of Hilliard Davidson High School in Columbus, OH. Previously, she worked in Florida as a teacher and assistant principal and was the Pinellas County Schools Assistant Principal of the Year in 2016. With 20 years of experience, she has a deep understanding of curriculum development and student engagement strategies. She is committed to fostering a positive school culture, promoting student success, and ensuring a safe and inclusive learning environment. At Davidson, she prioritizes interacting with as many students as possible and serves as the adviser for multiple clubs.


Ashley Mackey

Deer Creek High School
Edmond, Oklahoma

Ashley Mackey is an assistant principal of Deer Creek High School in Edmond, OK. Previously, she served as an assistant principal of Deer Creek Middle School, taught social studies, and worked as a special education paraprofessional. She leads the Deer Creek Transition Center (DCTC), a program that serves students with learning disabilities and helps them transition into adulthood. She introduced the “Bright Idea” award, a weekly recognition for Deer Creek staff members, showcasing innovative teaching strategies that positively impact student achievement and build self-efficacy. Taking a personalized approach, she conducts “Creek Check-Ins,” fostering rapport, trust, and gaining insights into students’ ideas for school improvement.


Sean Radford

Sutherlin High School
Sutherlin, Oregon

Sean Radford has served as the assistant principal of Sutherlin High School in Sutherlin, OR, for the past five years and as the administrator of the district’s alternative education program for the past three years. Radford prioritizes students’ academic and social-emotional needs by using innovative strategies and fostering strong partnerships with community organizations. He leads the Freshman Success team, whose work has resulted in a 95% freshman on-track rate and a 90% graduation rate during the last two years. He serves as the district’s Crisis Prevention Intervention trainer, and collaborates with community services, creating an inclusive school climate. He is recognized in his district for fostering equity, advocating for students, and being a valuable member of the Sutherlin family.


Scott Zgraggen

Springfield Township High School
Erdenheim, Pennsylvania

Dr. Scott Zgraggen has served as the assistant principal of Springfield Township High School in Erdenheim, PA, for the past seven years. A veteran educator for 37 years, he began his career teaching science at West High School in Bakersfield, CA, before moving onto the science department at Vacaville High School in Vacaville, CA. He has served at Springfield for 28 years.

Rhode Island

Jacqueline Barbosa Chantre

Dr. Earl Calcutt Middle School
Central Falls, Rhode Island

Jaqueline Barbosa Chantre is an assistant principal of Dr. Earl F. Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls, RI. Previously, she held several previous district and school positions, such as dean of students, secondary grades restorative specialist, and CTE coordinator at Central Falls High School. She has leveled up her leadership in multiple ways that have positively impacted student learning and the school community as a whole. She spearheads the school’s attendance committee and leads the school’s curriculum development work with the mathematics team. She is a dedicated school leader who builds relationships with all students, staff, parents, and guardians.

South Carolina

Meg Huggins

River Bluff High School
Lexington, South Carolina

Meg Huggins is academic dean of innovation at River Bluff High School in Lexington, SC. She has been an integral part of the educational leadership team since August 2017, and was first a lead teacher at River Bluff beginning in 2013. In her current role, she has spearheaded the Lead Instructional Team vision by implementing and creating the expectations for commitment to innovative teaching methods. Her involvement in her district’s Aspiring Principals Academy and presentations at both state and national conferences underscore her dedication to educational excellence.

South Dakota

Brady Sumners

Spearfish Middle School
Spearfish, South Dakota

Brady Sumners has served as the assistant principal and activities director of Spearfish Middle School in Spearfish, SD, since 2015. He began his career as a school counselor at Todd County High School and Spearfish High School. He then transitioned into administration. He has dedicated a total of 14 years to the field of education. Throughout his career, he has developed valuable skills in student support, staff management, program development, and organizational leadership.


Lorrie Johnson

McEwen High School
McEwen, Tennessee

Lorrie Johnson has served as assistant principal of McEwen High School in McEwen, TN, since the 2011. Previously, she served as school counselor at McEwen for ten years. She also taught psychology courses through Nashville State Community College and Columbia State Community College. During her time as an administrator, she has served as the testing coordinator, RTI coordinator, social media coordinator. In addition, she has led professional development sessions for teachers across the district about test data and helped create two student recognition programs at MHS for ACT achievement. During her time as an administrator, McEwen was recognized twice as a Tennessee Reward School.


Jana Clark

Harwood Junior High School
Bedford, Texas

Jana Clark has served as the assistant principal of Harwood Junior High School in Bedford, TX, for the past seven years. She is a passionate educator committed to building a positive campus culture where student achievement and staff development can thrive. During her time as assistant principal, she has contributed to the school’s success. Harwood has been recognized as a National Honor Roll School, a National PTA School of Excellence, and a National School to Watch.


Melody Apezteguia

American Fork High School
American Fork, Utah

Melody Apezteguia is in her seventh year as an assistant principal of American Fork High School (AFHS) in American Fork, UT. She leads the school’s Professional Learning Team and Instructional Coaching Team, supporting teachers as the school moves to achieve its school goals. Knowing the importance of a school culture centered on learning and growth, she was a key member in redesigning the school leadership structure to include spaces for teacher leadership and teacher voice. She led the initiative to introduce school dispositions, and all those who work and attend AFHS are PROUD (persistent, respectful, open-minded, unified, and dependable). She is the 2016 Utah Teacher of the Year and the 2013 recipient of the George Shell Award for teaching excellence in mathematics.


Karyn Riddle

Charles J. Colgan, Sr. High School
Manassas, Virginia

Karyn Riddle is in her sixth year as an assistant principal of Colgan High School in Manassas, VA. She began her 24-year career in education as a math teacher at Osbourn Park High School and later as an assistant principal years before moving to central office. Her central office experiences included serving as the leadership development coordinator, where she provided professional development for new administrative interns, assistant principals, and principals, and later as the supervisor of student management. In her current role, she worked with Algebra I teachers to raise the end-of-course pass rates in Algebra I from the third lowest to the highest pass rate in the division.


Heidi Fagerness

Chehalis Middle School
Chehalis, Washington

Heidi Fagerness has served as the assistant principal of Chehalis Middle School in Chehalis, WA, since 2019. A National Board Certified Teacher, she began her teaching career in 1992, working in special education and coaching at W.F. West High School. She then moved to a neighboring school district, where she served as assistant principal of Centralia Middle School before returning to Chehalis. She loves her school community and its commitment to students and families.

West Virginia

Brittany Harris

Horace Mann Middle School
Charleston, WV

Brittany Harris has served as assistant principal of Horace Mann Middle School in Charleston, WV, for seven years. Prior to transitioning to administration, she spent several years imparting her mathematical knowledge to students at both middle and high school levels. At Horace Mann, she has been instrumental in fostering a positive and inclusive environment for students. Together with her dedicated staff, she has developed a unique social-emotional learning program, designed to equip students with the essential skills to manage emotions, cultivate healthy relationships, make responsible decisions, and exhibit empathy.


Jeffrey Taege

Butler Middle School
Waukesha, Wisconsin

Jeffrey Taege has served as assistant principal of Butler Middle School in Waukesha, WI, for eight years. Previously, he served as a K–12 personalized learning coordinator and one of the co-founders of the F.L.I.G.H.T. Academy, a program nationally recognized in a documentary series by the Council of Chief State School Officers for its student-centered learning. He was the 2015 recipient of the Institute for Personalized Learning’s Trailblazer award. His work and passion are rooted in equitable access to rigorous educational experiences partnered with high expectations and the collective belief that every child can and will succeed.


Chanler Buck

Powell Middle School
Powell, Wyoming

Chanler Buck has served as assistant principal and activities director of Powell Middle School in Powell, WY, for six years. He has chased his passion to build first-class character and achieve academic excellence through team-oriented commitments. He strives to build confidence in his students and support each of them to achieve their full potential. In the last three years, Powell has received recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School, a Model PLC School, and one of the highest-achieving schools in the state.