Hats Off: Wrapping Up National Principals Month

November 2013, Volume 37, Issue 3

NAESP saluted principals across the country this October with a month-long celebration for National Principals Month. The festivities culminated Friday, October 25, with the Association’s annual banquet to honor this year’s National Distinguished Principals.

Hats Off to Principals Contest

NAESP’s Principals Month celebration kicked off with the launch of a special Facebook contest for teachers, parents, and students to submit stories about their principals. The entries, which included poems, photos, and artwork, were touching. “My principal is the best, he can’t be compared to the rest,” wrote one student from Chase Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland, about principal Doug Elmendorf.

Marissa Maier-Dennie sent in a photo of Eric Hansen, principal of North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary in North Charleston, South Carolina. In the photo, Hansen is helping a student struggling with a jump rope activity.

“Mr. Hansen joined our school at the beginning of this school year and has already made such a positive impact,” wrote Maier-Dennie. “We are so blessed to have him as our principal. It is also important to note that we are fairly new school, only three years old. And this is also Mr. Hansen’s first principal position!”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan offered principals his gratitude in a video message, and dozens of Twitter and Facebook users shared their appreciation for principals.

View the submissions from the contest in this slideshow.

National Distinguished Principals

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 on October 25.

NAESP is proud to recognize this year’s NDP class, true exemplars of principal leadership. 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 this year’s NDP celebration.

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.

View photos from the NDP celebration here.

Connected Principals Chats

In honor of both National Principals Month and Connected Educator Month, NAESP teamed up with Connected Principals to host a series of Twitter chats. The four chats, held each Wednesday in October using the hashtag #cpchat, explored the pressing technology issues principals face. See Rosie O’Brien Vojtek’s article on the chats for her takeaways and tips on tweet-chatting.

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