Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity and the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools select one state winner to represent their state. The state winner may be either a high school or a middle level principal.  

The state association executive director in each state must identify the state winner and “send” the finalized online application to NASSP for consideration. All state winners must use the official online 2021 NASSP National Principal of the Year application form; no other forms will be accepted.

Each state affiliate determines its own application deadline, selection process and announcement date. Each applicant must contact his or her state affiliate to inquire about application procedures and requirements.

If you have questions regarding the application form or process, please call 800-253-7746, ext. 267 or email us at [email protected]


Important Dates

December 2019

NASSP 2021 National Principal of the Year application is available online

Varies by state

State affiliate application deadline

June 5, 2020

Completed online application due to NASSP from each affiliate's designated 2020 State Principal of the Year

July 2020

NASSP announces three finalists for 2021 National Principal of the Year

September 28-October 1, 2020

NASSP Principals Institute hosted in Washington, D.C.

October 2020

NASSP announces 2021 National Principal of the Year during National Principals Month


Recognition for State Honorees

Each state principal of the year will be recognized and honored by his or her state association. The nature of the recognition and honor varies by state.

NASSP will honor all state principals of the year at the Principals Institute in Washington D.C., September of 2020.

NASSP's 2021 National Principal of the Year will be announced during National Principals Month in October 2020. 


National Selection

Three finalists for the NASSP National Principal of the Year award will be selected from among eligible state principals of the year by a judging panel composed of national leaders in education, state affiliate executive directors and staff members of NASSP and other national educational associations. From this distinguished group of three finalists one National Principal of the Year will be selected.

The selection of the National Principal of the Year is final.