- Current staff of NASSP, current members of the NASSP Board of Directors and current NASSP State Executive Directors and their respective family members are ineligible.
- Board members of NASSP are ineligible for consideration for one year after completion of their Board service.
- Candidate must notify NASSP immediately of any change in his or her status as principal. Failure to notify NASSP of change could jeopardize a candidate's eligibility for the national award.
- Candidate must be an active principal, headmaster, or leader of a virtual, public, or private middle level or high school from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity, or the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools. Middle level and high schools are defined as those containing some portion of grades 6 through 12.
- Candidate must have served as a principal at one or more middle level or high schools for three or more consecutive school years.
- Candidate must complete the online NASSP National Principal of the Year application.
- Each candidate must be a principal, headmaster, or leader at a middle level or high school and a member of NASSP and his or her state affiliate association at the time of selection or tenure as state principal of the year. For national finalists, these conditions must also be met at the time of national principal of the year interviews, when the national winner is announced, and during tenure.
- Previous national winners of the NASSP National Principal of the Year award are ineligible.