Tilford Principal Jim Murray and his wife, Lisa, pose with the ice sculpture honoring the Principals of the Year during a banquet in D.C.

Outstanding elementary and middle school principals from across the nation and abroad have been named 2017 National Distinguished Principals (NDPs) by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). The pre-K–8 principals will be honored October 13 at an awards banquet in Washington, D.C.

Established in 1984, the two-day NDP celebration program, which will be held at the Capital Hilton Hotel, recognizes public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. Theprincipals will also have the opportunity to share best practices. The 62 principal honorees were selected by NAESP state affiliates and by committees representing private and overseas schools.

Principals create the necessary conditions for providing students with the well-rounded education that they need,” said Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE, NAESP’s executive director.

“NAESP’s National Distinguished Principals program recognizes the outstanding leadership of highly successful principals and their commitment to the children they serve, to their local communities, to their state, and our nation. Working in partnership with classroom teachers and other educators, these principals provide the necessary leadership to improve student achievement and ensure every student has a pathway to success.”


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.

 A list of the 2017 NDPs and their biographical information can be accessed at www.naesp.org/2017-class-national-distinguished-principals .