Press | New Leaders and Partner Organizations Commend Federal Focus on School Leadership

Alexandria, VA—The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and New Leaders commend the White House and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on a year of unprecedented federal focus on school leadership resulting in robust engagement with principals and the inclusion of diverse voices in federal policy conversations.

On May 27-28, the White House and ED will celebrate 14 principals with events ranging from introductory sessions on federal policy and advocacy to a roundtable discussion with high-ranking officials about how to improve education from the principal’s perspective. This “Principals at ED” event is the culmination of a series of three practitioner-driven policy conversations focused on school leadership. The first-ever Principals at ED event took place on January 20, 2015 with a second event on March 2, 2015. The series builds on the successful Principal Ambassador Fellowship (PAF) program, where school leaders serve as advisors to Secretary Duncan and ED staff.

Principals are responsible for creating great places for millions of American teachers and students to work and learn every day, year after year. A federal focus on school leadership is necessary because everything that happens in schools—setting high expectations for what students must learn, ensuring well-rounded teaching and learning is high-quality and engaging, providing teachers with feedback that helps them get better, making time and space for teachers to work together to help kids, engaging families and communities—depends on a great principal to make sure it gets done and gets done well.

“There has never been a more important time for principals to weigh in and share their perspectives on federal policy matters that impact schools and the millions of students that are served” said Gail Connelly, NAESP Executive Director. “We commend ED and the White House for this important third convening of school leaders and are particularly pleased that NAESP President, Mark White, will be there to represent the nation’s elementary and middle level principals.”

“With the massive changes schools are undertaking, effective and continuous principal leadership is absolutely essential,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “Today’s Principals at ED session reflects the Department’s ongoing commitment to incorporating principal voices into policy decisions and supporting principals in the crucial role the play.”

“I am thrilled to see the Administration recognizing that great leaders are essential for building vibrant schools where all teachers grow and all students excel,” said Jean Desravines, New Leaders CEO. “In particular, I am pleased that New Leader Principals Myke Collins, Elizabeth Dozier, Franklin Headley, and David O’Hara had the opportunity to share their expertise to encourage development of federal policies that support effective leadership, benefitting students nationwide.”


Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle school principals in the United States and internationally. NAESP supports principals as the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy development, advocacy, professional development programs, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP advances the profession on behalf of all principals, providing specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include preK–3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and capacity-building educator evaluation. To learn more about NAESP, please visit

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development,