Elementary Principal of the Year Award

The Connecticut Association of Schools and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) annually sponsor the Elementary Principal of the Year Award (also known as the National Distinguished Principal Award). This award is designed to recognize outstanding elementary school principals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership, a passion for educational excellence, a selfless commitment to their students and staff and ongoing service to their communities.

Nominations are submitted to CAS and reviewed by a selection committee consisting of active and retired school administrators. Two to three finalists are identified and asked to complete an award application and submit a portfolio. The selection committee will then choose the state winner after evaluating the finalists’ applications/portfolios and visiting their respective schools. The winner will be recognized locally by CAS and nationally by NAESP.


The selected principal must:
• be a member of NAESP and CAS at the time of the award;
• be an active principal of a school in which a commitment to excellence is clearly evident through programs designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and through firmly established ties with parents and the larger community;
• have been an active principal for at least five years (NOTE: Only those years served as a building principal may count toward the necessary five);
• remain in active service in a position of school leadership during the year in which he or she receives the award;
• show a strong commitment to the principalship through active membership in professional associations;
• be respected by students, colleagues, parents, and the community at large;
• assume an active role in his/her community, distinguishing himself/herself as a leader in civic, religious, or humanitarian activities;
• show strong educational leadership by setting high expectations for school staff and students;
• maintain an orderly, purposeful learning environment; and,
• demonstrate evidence of outstanding contributions to the well-being of the educational community. Evidence includes:

• ways in which the principal’s leadership has benefited curriculum, staff morale, community support, student interest, and the learning environment;
• increasing or consistently high levels of student achievement as demonstrated on the state-wide assessment instrument;
• ways in which the principal provides creative leadership to inspire teachers and others to achieve and contribute to the school environment;
• examples of service or achievements above and beyond what is expected in the usual school program; and
• ways in which others have acknowledged the principal as a force for positive change.

IMPORTANT: Anyone currently holding a position on the NAESP board of directors (including an officer role) or serving as an officer of CAS during the official nomination time period or during the year of recognition is ineligible for selection.