School Leaders to Gather in National Harbor, Maryland, for NAESP’s Pre-K–8 Principals Conference

Principals and assistant principals from across the nation will come together in person to recharge and prepare for post-pandemic leadership.

Alexandria, VA—Elementary and middle-level principals and assistant principals from across the nation will gather July 10-12 in National Harbor, Maryland, for the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Pre-K–8 Principals Conference. The annual gathering, which is the largest national conference for elementary and middle-level principals, is especially significant as schools seek to address the long-term trends from The Nation’s Report Card, conducted by the National Assessment of Education Progress.

Recent results show a decline of four points in reading and nine points in math for 13-year-olds for the 2022-23 school year compared to 2019-20 test scores. This confirms what we already knew: The pandemic has taken a toll on student achievement. Principals and assistant principals are uniquely positioned to support their school communities in new ways to overcome these deficits.

“The job of the principal has expanded and continues to shift in unprecedented ways,” said NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE. “We’re proud to be able to offer high-quality, standards-based professional learning that can help principals not only adjust to recent disruptions but also return to their schools in the fall ready to thrive.”

Preconference activities begin July 9, with sessions on school equity, literacy, and principal leadership. Visit the conference website for a full list of sessions.

Highlights of this year’s conference will include:

  • Annual Community Service Day. For more than a decade, principals from across the country have volunteered their time to build a playground during the NAESP Community Service Day. With the generous support from Landscape Structures, school leaders this year will install a playground at Weyanoke Elementary School. (Sunday, July 9, 8 a.m. to noon, 6520 Braddock Road, Alexandria, Virginia).
  • Insight from Education Experts. Some of the brightest minds in education will share fresh thinking and innovative strategies to lead schools. Keynote speakers include Houston Kraft, cofounder of CharacterStrong; Joanne McEachen, CEO and founder of The Learner First; and Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President Emeritus of University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
  • Honoring the Nation’s Best Assistant Principals. NAESP is pleased to honor the 2023 class of National Outstanding Assistant Principals. Learn more about the awardees.


Conference attendees will share their experiences on social media using #NAESP23. For more information on NAESP’s annual conference, visit Contact Kaylen Tucker for press credentials or interviews.