NAESP Honors Top Principals During 2023 National Principals Month

NAESP recognizes 37 principals from across the nation and abroad as 2023 NAESP National Distinguished Principals.

Alexandria, VA—September 25, 2023—The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) recognizes 37 exemplary elementary and middle-level principals from across the nation and abroad as the 2023 class of NAESP National Distinguished Principals (NDPs). This year, we’re recognizing 32 elementary school principals, three middle-level principals, and two administrators representing the Department of Overseas Schools.

The pre-K-8 principals will travel to the nation’s capital from Oct. 5-6, to participate in two days of events that culminate in an awards banquet to honor their accomplishments. The program—celebrating its 40th anniversary this year—will be held at The Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C.

“As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the NAESP NDP program, it’s fitting to reflect on the strength, dedication, and tenacity of the school leader,” said NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE. “In those four decades, principals have found successful solutions to unforeseen challenges and grown in their practice to meet new needs of students and staff. These NAESP NDPs are no exception. Congratulations to the 2023 class, who we proudly recognize for their continued commitment to putting students and staff first, serving as innovative problem-solvers in an evolving education landscape, and building relationships as trusted members of their communities.”

Since 1984, the NDP program has recognized public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities and has given them the opportunity to share best practices with each other. NAESP state affiliates, as well as the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity, selected these 37 principal honorees, who join 2,327 principals before them who also call themselves NAESP NDPs.

It is particularly fitting to acknowledge the work of principals in October because it is National Principals Month, which was established to recognize and honor the contributions of school principals toward the success of the nation’s students and encourage awareness of their significance.

Criteria for selection of the principals require that the honorees are active principals of schools where programs are designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations.

NOTE: Access a list of the 2023 NDPs and their biographical information at To request an interview with the honored principals, contact Kaylen Tucker at or 703-518-6257.