Elementary Principal of the Year Award 

General Criteria

1.  The individual should have been a practicing elementary principal for at least five years (includes experience as an associate/assistant principal). (Elementary principal is generally defined as having primary supervisory responsibilities for any combination of grades PK-8.)

2.  The individual should be currently serving as an elementary principal in a building(s) where a commitment to excellence is clearly evident; i.e., to be nominated for 2025 Elementary Principal of the Year, the individual must be an elementary principal for the 2024-25 school year.

3.  There should be evidence of outstanding contributions to the well-being of the educational community including:

  • Ways in which curriculum, staff morale, community support, student interest, and the learning environment have benefited from the principal’s leadership.
  • Ways in which the principal provides creative leadership in inspiring and motivating teachers and others to achieve and contribute to the school environment.

4.  The individual should show a strong commitment to the principalship by active participation in professional activities. Membership in SAI and NAESP are prerequisites for this award.

5.  There should be evidence that the individual is respected by his/her students, colleagues, and the community at large.

6.  The individual should show strong educational leadership and operate orderly and purposeful schools, having set high expectations for school staff and students.

NOTE: No current SAI Executive Committee member (president, president-elect, vice president or past president), NAESP board member or NAESP state representative is eligible for this award.

Award recognition

1. Press releases are sent by SAI to select media at the conclusion of the selection process. An article will also appear in the SAI Report.

2. The recipient will be recognized at the SAI Annual Conference in August.

3. The Administrator of the Year will be recognized by the national association and become eligible for a national award if s/he fulfills the criteria. NAESP requires the state recipient be an active principal during the year of the national award, e.g. a 2025 winner must be an active principal for the 2024-25 school year. Events are subject to change; please see the awards section of the NAESP website for current information.