Principal of the Year Program

Excellence in Instructional Leadership


The purpose of the DoDEA Principal of the Year (PoY) program is to recognize outstanding school principals who have succeeded in leading high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession, specifically setting high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities. In addition, the program provides leadership growth opportunities within and outside our system in order to build capacity for continuous improvement. Furthermore, the program provides a platform to utilize distinguished principals as models, coaches or representatives for leadership excellence.


DoDEA will annually open nominations for DoDEA Principal of the Year to all elementary, middle and high school principals who meet the agreed upon requirements for the purpose of receiving recognition, leadership experiences, and opportunities to build capacity. The Principal of the Year program will include a period of nomination, application, selection, recognition and honor.

DoDEA will recognize one Principal of the Year in each of the three regions; Pacific, Americas and Europe. One of the selected Regional Principal of the Year recipients will be selected as the DoDEA Principal of the Year, and proceed through the appropriate national association nomination process, representing DoDEA at the national level. During the yearly period of honor, those selected Principals of the Year will serve as ambassador to their profession, be provided leadership growth opportunities, and support DoDEA priorities and initiatives.

Connection to National Principal Recognition Programs

There are currently two national principal recognition programs. The National Association of Secondary School Principals’ (NASSP) program honors elementary and middle school principals. The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) program, honors middle and high school principals. The DoDEA Principal of the Year program and process coincide with both NAESP and NASSP programs so that the DoDEA Principal of the Year candidate can submit for national recognition.

In order to select one DoDEA Principal of the Year, each DoDEA region; Pacific, Americas and Europe, will run a nomination, application and selection process in alignment with national organizations, to determine a Regional Principal of the Year. From the Regional selectees DoDEA Headquarters will select one DoDEA Principal of the Year to represent DoDEA in the NAESP or NASSP national recognition programs.

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