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Last modified: 10/30/2015 9:14:23 AM
The Washington Post Principal of the Year Award

Please reach out to your principals, teachers, staff and share the nomination information for the WP Awards.

The WPost has a new guidelines - please read carefully. All submissions are requested to be submitted electronically.

A PGCPS committee will review the nominations - select the final winner for each category - present them to the CEO for approval - and then provide the information to the Post.

All nomination packages must be submitted electronically in PDF form by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 8, 2016 (extended deadline - late submissions will not be accepted) to DO NOT SUBMIT TO WASHINGTON POST DIRECTLY.  Download packet >>

Washington Post Principal of the Year Guidelines

Most educators will agree that the level of excellence a school achieves is directly related to the level of leadership provided by its principal. It is the combination of the principal’s ability to manage, their interest in staff and students, their respect for learning and vision of the future that set the stage for the school’s efforts to educate our children. The Washington Post Principal of the Year Award seeks to recognize those principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. In presenting this award, The Washington Post hopes to encourage excellence in school leadership and to contribute in a substantive way to the improvement of education in the Washington metropolitan area. 

 Principals must first be nominated and one finalist will be selected by their local school system. Nomination deadlines are set by the individual school system. Specific information can be obtained from the school system’s awards coordinator's office. Each participating public school system will receive and screen nominations and will select one finalist. 


  • Nominees must be full-time principals (in grades pre-kindergarten through 12) in an accredited school. 
  • Each nominee must have a minimum of five years experience as a principal, three of which must be in the school or school system in which he or she is currently serving. 


Nominees must be principals who: 
  • Manage effectively 
  • Demonstrate and encourage creativity and innovation 
  • Foster cooperation between the school and the community 
  • Maintain a continuing dialogue with students and parents as well as faculty and staff 
  • Keep abreast of developments in the field of education 
  • Encourage team spirit
  • Demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment 
  • Continue to play an active role in the classroom 
  • Maintain their position as principal throughout the 2016-17 school year


Nominations may be submitted by teachers, students, former students, parents, administrators or the general public. Principals may not nominate themselves. 
Nomination materials must include: 
  • A minimum of four statements of support, one of which must be by a professional educator 
  • A career summary 
  • A 200 word biography, written to highlight the specific award for which the awardee was nominated. See sample submission below:
    *Sample: John Doe is the principal at Franklin Pierce Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Franklin Pierce serves a unique population and it takes exceptional leadership to successfully manage the school and its community. “Each child has individual and specific requirements and John makes sure that each need is met with an innovative and caring approach.” wrote a parent, whose daughter attends the school. “The safety and security of the students as well as their individual educational goals are paramount in how John supports the children, their families and his staff. I have complete confidence and comfort knowing that John has provided an environment where my daughter’s needs can be met and all his abilities nurtured and encouraged as best possible.” Mr. Doe began his career in education as a speech pathologist in the Prince George’s County Public School system in 1993. There he developed and implemented communication-based programs for students with autism, learning, and physical disabilities. Mr. Doe earned his MEd and BS in speech/language pathology from Keene University in Keene, NH. * 
  • A description of contributions in each of the nomination criteria 
  • One vertical color photograph. Headshot only. The image must be a JPG file, and at least 2 MB. 


 A selection committee of individuals that represent teachers, administrators, parents, and The Washington Post will review nomination materials for each finalist. Nominations are scored using a standardized rubric. Starting this year, one (1) finalist will be selected as The Washington Post Principal of the Year. The winner will be notified by The Washington Post on Friday, February 26, 2016. 


The principal of the year earns tremendous respectas the Washington area's best principal. This reputation means prestige in the community and across the Washington region. The winning finalist will receive a signature trophy, a $7,500 monetary award, a feature spot in a half page ad that runs in The Washington Post newspaper, a profile in The Washington Post and on All other finalists will receive a certificate of appreciation from The Washington Post.