Media Advisory                                                              
Contact: Kaylen Tucker

Alexandria, VA—March 29, 2010—The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) will honor education activist and award-winning author Greg Mortenson, who has spent the past two decades building schools and promoting literacy in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, with its Distinguished Service to Education Award. The award will be presented to Mortenson during the Association’s 89th Annual Convention and Exposition, which is being held in Houston, April 8-11. Mortenson will also deliver a keynote address to the national gathering of K-8 educators on Sunday, April 11 at 10 a.m.

Since 1982, NAESP has presented awards to select individuals in recognition of their distinguished service to children or to education. Individuals considered for this award have a record of leadership and have demonstrated career commitment to service through professional activities and involvement. Past recipients include the Honorable Edward M. Kennedy, Fred Rogers, and the Honorable Madeleine K. Albright.

“Greg Mortenson’s outstanding service to children and his commitment to increasing education opportunities in some of the world’s most isolated regions serves as an inspiration to principals, whose leadership of our nation’s schools is critical to their success,” said NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. In advance of his appearance at NAESP’s convention, Mortenson spoke with Connelly on NAESP Radio about his work and the contributions American students have made to his mission.

Mortenson began building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1992 as a way of honoring the memory of his late sister Christa. Despite facing many hardships, including a kidnapping and threats against his family, he has never wavered in his efforts or his belief that expanding education in third-world countries is a key to creating lasting world peace. Mortenson is the co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and the founder of Pennies for Peace, an organization that empowers elementary and middle-level students to contribute to philanthropic activities.

NAESP’s convention provides principals with knowledge and experiences that will enrich them as education leaders and help them to find new and innovative ways to lead schools. Other convention highlights include a Transformational Leaders panel, a Community Service Day, and keynote addresses from other notable figures. More information about Greg Mortenson and these activities can be found at NAESP’s convention Web site.

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) serves 25,000 elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children.