Two-Day Celebration Honors Distinguished Principals


NAESP honored this year’s National Distinguished Principals with a two-day celebration that culminated Friday, October 25, with an awards banquet in Washington, D.C.

Hailing from public and private schools around the country and overseas, the sixty-one 2013 National Distinguished Principals (NDPs) enjoyed an evening of festivities at the Capital Hilton Hotel. Each honoree was presented with the traditional NDP bell engraved with his or her name, as well as a framed certificate. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered remarks, congratulating principals for all they do for our nation’s children. Duncan went on to tout the importance of supporting principals, stating that he hopes to triple the Department of Education’s investment in principal leadership.

NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly also commended the honorees for being exemplars of successful school leadership.

“Only a principal can move a school from good to great, simultaneously championing children and uplifting the communities they serve,” she said. “We congratulate this class of NDPs for their steadfast dedication to educating our nation’s children to their fullest potential.” 

Sponsored for over 25 years by VALIC, the banquet served as a capstone for the celebration of this year’s class of NDPs.

“VALIC is proud to continue its support as sole sponsor of the National Distinguished Principal’s Award Program,” said Bruce Abrams, President of VALIC. “This program allows us to recognize the important role of principals on the education and development of our nation’s children, our future leaders. On behalf of VALIC, I congratulate all 61 of this year’s National Distinguished Principals and extend my deepest thanks for all that they do.”

While in Washington, D.C., the NDPs gathered for a panel discussion on instructional leadership with U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle and three top education policy experts: Chris Minnich (The Council of Chief State School Officers), Richard Laine (National Governors Association), and Jane West (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education). They also had the opportunity to listen to a leadership presentation from Colonel Art Athens, network with fellow NDPs, share mementos and stories from their schools and their states, and meet for a group photo in front of the White House.

Established in 1984, the NDP program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators who ensure that America’s children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. Read about each state’s honorees here.