NAESP Honors Top Principals During National Principals Month

NAESP recognizes 40 principals from across the nation and abroad as 2021 NAESP National Distinguished Principals.

Alexandria, VA, September 25, 2021—The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) recognizes 40 exemplary elementary and middle-level principals from across the nation and abroad as the 2021 class of NAESP National Distinguished Principals (NDPs). The pre-K-8 principals will travel to Washington, D.C., from Oct. 7-8, for two days of events that culminate in an award banquet to honor their accomplishments.

“Before the pandemic, principals earned the reputation as one of the most trusted groups of leaders,” said NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE. “Now, as they continue to grapple with uncertainty and challenges related to the pandemic, their devotion to their profession and their communities is even more evident as they strive for educational excellence and wellbeing for their students and staff. Our heartfelt congratulations and thank you to this class of NAESP National Distinguished Principals, who have shown that their dedicated leadership and passion for students and their communities will outshine any challenges that are thrown their way.”

Established in 1984, NDP celebration program, held at the Capital Hilton Hotel, recognizes public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. The principals will also have the opportunity to share best practices with each other. NAESP state affiliates and committees representing private and overseas schools select these 40 principal honorees, who join 2,209 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 2021 NDPs and their biographical information at To request an interview with the honored principals, contact Kaylen Tucker at or 703-518-6257.