NAESP Awards America’s Best K-8 Principals

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School leaders honored for sustaining strong schools during National Principals Month

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Principals provide vitally important leadership that creates a lasting foundation for learning, drives school and student performance, and shapes the long-term impact of school improvement efforts.

Sixty-one outstanding elementary and middle school principals from across the nation and abroad have been named as 2011 National Distinguished Principals (NDP) by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). They will be honored Oct. 21 at an awards banquet at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., as part of a two-day program, which for more than 20 years has been generously funded by VALIC. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will provide congratulatory remarks.

Established in 1984, the program recognizes public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. The distinguished principals are selected by NAESP state affiliates, including the District of Columbia, and by committees representing private and overseas schools.

NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly commended the 61 principals for being exemplars of successful school leadership. “For more than 25 years, our National Distinguished Principals program has recognized the nation’s most accomplished principals—front-line champions for children—who vastly impact individual lives and strengthen schools,” she said. “Principals provide vitally important leadership that creates a lasting foundation for learning, drives school and student performance, and shapes the long-term impact of school improvement efforts, all which undeniably bolster the nation’s opportunities for future prosperity.”

“As the sole sponsor of the National Distinguished Principals program for over 20 years, VALIC is proud to continue our unwavering support of our nation’s principals,” said Bruce R. Abrams, president and CEO of VALIC. “Programs like this allow us to recognize the contributions that principals make to our teachers, our schools, and our communities. On behalf of VALIC, I would like to congratulate all of this year’s distinguished principals and offer our utmost thanks for their commitment and dedication to educating our nation’s children.”

October is a particularly fitting month to acknowledge the work of principals. The U.S. Senate declared October National Principals Month through a bipartisan resolution (S. Res. 277) that was passed in recognition of “the importance of principals in ensuring that every child has access to a high-quality education.”

NOTE: A list of the 2011 NDPs and their biographical information can be accessed at To request an interview while the principals are in Washington, D.C., contact Kaylen Tucker.

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) serves elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children.

For more than half a century, VALIC has served as a leading retirement plan provider for K-12 schools and school districts, as well as for higher education, government, and other not-for-profit healthcare institutions. As of third quarter 2011, VALIC has more than $70 billion in total assets under management and manages plans for nearly 25,000 groups serving nearly 2 million plan participants. VALIC represents The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. and VALIC Retirement Services Company.


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