Principal of the Year – Middle and High School

General InformationAward Recipients
The Principal of the Year Program, sponsored annually by the Connecticut Association of Schools and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), was established to bring recognition to exemplary school principals and to increase public awareness of the critical role that principals play in the education of our youth. The program recognizes outstanding middle and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high quality learning opportunities for students. These administrators have demonstrated excellent leadership skills, a selfless commitment to their staff and students, ongoing service to their communities, and contributions to the overall profession of educational leadership.

Individuals nominated for the Middle and High School Principal of the Year Awards are notified of their nomination and invited to move forward in the awards process by completing a written application. The CAS Awards and Recognition Committee, a selection committee consisting of active and retired principals and assistant principals, will review applications and, if necessary, conduct a site visit at the schools of the two highest rated candidates at each level (middle and high). Winners will then be chosen based upon the outcome of the site visit as well as the quality of the written application.

Both the middle and high school honorees will be recognized locally by CAS and one, but not both, will represent Connecticut in the competition for the National Principal of the Year Award sponsored by NASSP. For additional information on the National Principal of the Year Program, visit

Personal Excellence

  • Models continuous professional growth
  • Interacts with others professionally and tactfully
  • Communicates effectively in speaking and writing
  • Models values, beliefs, and attitudes that encourage others to higher levels of performance
  • Demonstrates commitment to NASSP and its programs through continuous membership and participation in the following:
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) through national and state affiliate involvement (i.e., conference presentations, etc.)
  • National Honor Society (NHS), National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), and/or National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) chapter(s) that actively supports achievement and works to improve the academic culture in the school
  • National Association of Student Councils (NASC) affiliation with active community and school involvement projects.

Collaborative Leadership

  • Involves teachers, staff members, parents, students, and the community in creating and fostering a shared vision for the school
  • Leads collaboratively to promote ownership among staff, students, parents, and community members for school efforts and outcomes
  • Creates a culture of collaboration in which staff members work together as a professional learning community to promote student learning
  • Teaches, coaches, and supports the development of potential and current school leaders
  • Utilizes available technology tools for school management, operation, instruction, and assessment, fostering collaboration and communication to effectively address issues in the school community and meet the unique learning needs of each student.

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

  • Improves teaching, learning, and assessment by implementing practices, programs, and improvement efforts on the basis of multiple sources of data
  • Leads efforts in curriculum alignment and identification of essential learning at each level
  • Observes, supervises, and evaluates teachers and instructional programs to maximize the learning opportunities for every teacher and for each student
  • Demonstrates knowledge of learning, teaching, assessment practices, research, and programs that maximize student performance
  • Facilitates in developing and maintaining co-curricular programs that complement the curriculum while fostering students’ academic and social success
  • Ensures that each student has the best possible opportunity of realizing success by providing a personalized plan that evaluates individual learner needs in relation to learning time, setting, methods, and course sequence
  • Provides enrichment and support for both students and teachers in meeting high standards.


  • Establishes and maintains a school environment that reflects high expectations for students and staff
  • Creates a school climate that is warm, inviting, safe, and secure
  • Organizes the school so that all social, economic, and racial/ethnic groups have equal access to all school programs and provides the support needed for student success
  • Creates structures that promote positive relationships between adults and students and ensures that each student is well-known by at least one staff member
  • Acknowledges the accomplishments of students, teachers, and school community members.

All candidates must be members of CAS and NASSP and have at least three years experience as a school principal.

The CAS Awards and Recognition Committee reserves the right to reject any and all candidates in a category if they do not fulfill the criteria for the award. In making its decisions, the Awards and Recognition Committee will consider each candidate’s professional qualities as outlined in the application, his/her recommendations, and his/her professional contributions to CAS.

  • From 1984-1991 – there was only one category for principal of year, not separate categories for middle level and high school
  • * Denotes Finalist – National Principal of the Year
  • ** Denotes National Principal of the Year
1984 Jacob Ludes, III Manchester High School
1985 James Aseltine Irving Robbins Middle School, Farmington
1986 H. Jean Kenney Stonington High School
1987 Robert Gaucher Ledyard High School
1988 D. Harold Golberg Clark Lane Middle School, Waterford
1989 Robert E. Dunn Wm. Hall High School, W. Hartford
1990 Donald Berkowitz Windham High School
1991 John M. Dodig, Jr. Fairfield High School
1992 Philip Morton East Windsor High School (State & National)
1993 Alan Bookman Glastonbury High School (State & National)
1994 James Forcellina Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk
1995 Thomas Galvin Berlin High School
1996 Donald Gates Portland High School
1997 Lawrence Shea Windsor High School
1998 Paul Hoey Newington High School
1999 Dennis Carrithers Simsbury High School
2000 V. Everett Lyons Bristol Eastern High School
2001 E. Patricia Llodra N.W. Reg. High School, Winsted
2002 John Goetz Danbury High School
2003 Paul Stringer Weaver High School, Hartford
2004 Jerome Auclair Darien High School
2005 Robert Pitocco Rocky Hill High School
2006 Robert Hale Westbrook High School
2007 Paul Newton Enrico Fermi High School, Enfield
2008 Donald Macrino Waterford High School
2009 Timothy Breslin Farmington High School
2010 Timothy Sullivan, Jr. Classical Magnet School, Hartford
2011 Michael Foran** New Britain High School
2012 Thomas McMorran Joel Barlow High School, Redding
2013 Thomas Moore Wethersfield High School
2014 Matthew Ryan East Hartford High School
2015 Francis Kennedy, Jr. Berlin High School
2016 Alan Strauss The Gilbert School, Winsted
2017 Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue Newtown High School
2018 Dr. William Silva Farmington High School
2019 Joseph Blake Coventry High School
1992 Richard Lindgren Illing Junior High School, Manchester
1993 Laura Boutilier Timothy Edwards Middle School, South Windsor
1994 Robert Strouse West Side Middle School, Groton
1995 Earle Bidwell Capt. Nathan Hale Middle School, Coventry
1997 Carol Iwanicki Mansfield Middle School
1998 Richard Miller Weston Middle School
1999 Anne Richardson Strong Middle School, Durham
2000 Mike Rafferty Old Saybrook Middle School
2001 Preston Shaw Griswold Middle School
2002 Paul Cavaliere, Jr. Sage Park Middle School, Windsor
2003 Richard Huelsmann East Hampton Middle School
2004 Carol Janssen* McGee Middle School, Berlin
2005 Susan Dumas Mystic Middle School
2006 Shellie Pierce Granby Memorial Middle School
2007 Enrico Buccilli Dag Hammarskjold Middle School, Wallingford
2008 Sheryl Kempain* Killingly Intermediate School
2009 Jeanne Camperchioli Bristow Middle School, West Hartford
2010 Stacey Gross Western Middle School, Greenwich
2011 Donna Schilke Smith Middle School, Glastonbury
2012 Sally Biggs Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy
2013 Joseph Scheideler Canton Middle School
2014 Johnna Hunt Hillside Intermediate School, Naugatuck
2015 Dr. Judy DeLeeuw East Lyme Middle School
2016 David Pearson Ellington Middle School
2017 Anthony Menard East Hartford Middle School
2018 Dianne Vumback Lincoln Middle School, Meriden
2019 Gordon Beinstein Western Middle School, Greenwich