NAESP and AASA Honor 2023 National Aspiring Principals Academy Graduates

Eleven emerging leaders from across the nation have acquired the essential skills needed to advance to the next level of school leadership.

Alexandria, VA—July 19, 2023—The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, are pleased to announce 11 emerging leaders have completed the National Aspiring Principals Academy (NAPA). NAESP and AASA designed this professional learning program to support aspiring principals in learning the essential knowledge, skills, and practices they need to advance to the next level in education leadership.

Highly skilled and nationally recognized educational leaders and mentors led the yearlong, standards-based professional learning opportunity. Topics of focus included building professional learning communities, leading for equity, understanding governance, and addressing critical issues and trends.

“The public school system in the U.S. needs a strong, capable pipeline of school leaders more now than ever in the history of our country,” said NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE. “NAESP is proud to continue its partnership with AASA to support aspiring principals, who have committed to professional growth and to meeting new and emerging needs for schools, students, and faculty and staff. We hope this strengthened principal pipeline will ensure successful, safe, and equitable school communities in which all students can thrive. Congratulations to the 2023 graduating class.”

“An effective principal is a critical factor in determining the academic growth for the students in a school building as well as the professional growth for faculty and staff,” said David R. Schuler, executive director, AASA. “Congratulations to the 2023 graduates of the prestigious National Aspiring Principal Academy. It is an honor to partner with the National Association of Elementary School Principals on this initiative. This engaging, yearlong professional development program is transforming aspiring principals so they can advance their careers to the next leadership level. On behalf of the building blocks of what makes a great school, I thank the outstanding professionals who participated in our program.”

NAESP and AASA congratulate these NAPA graduates:

  • Tonia Barnes, Assistant Principal, Glasgow Middle School, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Delia Clayton-Fulcher, Student Support Specialist, Walker-Grant Middle School, Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Liana Diaz-Rivera, Assistant Principal, Glasgow Middle School, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Andrea Koczan, Program Director, Conductive Education Center of Orlando, Winter Park, Florida
  • Augusta Lacayo, Assistant Principal, American Nicaraguan School, Managua, Nicaragua
  • Tron Lewis, Instructional Coach. P.S. 35 Queens Nathaniel Woodhull School, Queens, New York
  • Frenzica Mann, Instructional Coach, Ooltewah Middle School, Ooltewah, Tennessee
  • Maria Romain, Principal, Clintondale Middle School, Clinton Township, Michigan
  • Emily Taylor Rosser, Assistant Principal, Western Harnett High School, Lillington, North Carolina
  • Cindy Scott, Resource Teacher, Home and Hospital Program (Central Office), Towson, Maryland
  • Keting Xiao, Principal, Baltimore International Academy West, Baltimore, Maryland

Eric Cardwell, a retired elementary school principal and past NAESP president, and Gail Pletnick, a retired superintendent and past AASA president, facilitated NAPA, and program mentors included:

  • Patricia Buck, AASA
  • Tracy Hilliard, Principal, Urbana Elementary, Frederick, MD
  • Rick Varney, Principal, John Cline Elementary, Decorah, IA

For the 2023-2024 cohort, NAESP and AASA have joined forces with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Interested aspiring principals can learn more and apply at by Sept. 11, 2023.

For more information about NAPA, contact Gracie Branch, NAESP associate executive director, Professional Learning, at