Sec. Duncan Commends Principals, Receives Honorary NDP Award


The celebration for this year’s National Distinguished Principals wrapped up Friday evening with an awards banquet at Washington, D.C.’s Capital Hilton Hotel. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered congratulatory remarks, and was honored himself with NAESP’s Honorary National Distinguished Principal (NDP) Award.

Duncan, who has said many times that great principals make great schools, called the honorees “extraordinary.”

“During these tough economic times, somehow principals are doing more with less,” he said. “Thank you for the example of service and commitment that you all show.”

At the banquet, NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly bestowed upon Duncan (pictured above, with the NAESP Board of Directors) the Honorary NDP Award, an honor given to officials who demonstrate support for the principalship. In his remarks, Duncan went on to tout the importance of early childhood education, as well as principal preparation and support. Further, he said the department needs to initiate a principal ambassador program to help decision-makers guide education policy.

The banquet, sponsored for nearly 25 years by VALIC, served as a capstone for the two-day celebration of this year’s class of NDPs. Honorees, who represent public and private elementary and middle schools from across the country, received the traditional NDP bell engraved with their names, as well as a congratulatory letter hand-signed by President Barack Obama.