Washington Post Principal of the Year Award

Tiana Haile
Manager, Engagement & Partnerships

Public Affairs Department
191 South East Street
Frederick, MD  21701
(240) 586-7113

Nominations were due by noon on Monday, January 22, 2024.

Past Finalists and Winners

The Washington Post Principal of the Year Award aims to recognize principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment for their staff and students. The award is intended to encourage excellence in school leadership and inspire positive organizational improvements in local school systems.

One regional winner will be selected for Principal of the Year. The awardee will receive a signature trophy and a $7,500 monetary award as well as a ½ page feature spot in the Washington Post Newspaper.


The FCPS Public Affairs Department coordinates the nomination and selection process before forwarding materials to the Washington Post.

Principals must first be nominated and one finalist selected to represent FCPS. We welcome nominations from current and former students, teachers, support staff, parents, community members, administrators and supervisors. Principals may not nominate themselves.

To submit a nomination:

Nominations were to be received by noon on Monday, January 22, 2024.


Nominees must be full-time principals. Each nominee must have a minimum of two (2) years’ experience as a principal, one (1) of which must be in the school or school system in which the principal is currently serving. Nominees must serve as an administrator for the 2023-24 school year.

Nomination Criteria

Nominees must be principals who demonstrate:

1. Leadership Excellence: Earns the respect of their staff and students, inspires excellence and creativity, and provides an innovative vision for the future of the school.

2. Collaboration: Establishes meaningful relationships throughout the educational system and community, and fosters a collaborative school culture that emphasizes working together within the common framework of strong educational values.

3. Listening: Maintains a continuous and open dialogue with students and parents as well as faculty and staff, and considers a variety of feedback and ideas when making decisions.

4. Lifelong Learning: Keeps abreast of developments in the field of education.

5. Support: Continues to play an active role in the classroom, the lunchroom, the hallway, at morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal. Creates an environment in which staff and students can flourish and grow.

Nomination Process

Only applications including all of the below materials will be considered for review:

1. Portrait: One vertical color photograph, headshot only. The image must be a JPG file, and at least 2 MB. Note, this may be used by The Post online and in print if selected as the winner.

2. Nomination Packet submitted as a single PDF including the following materials:

  • Nomination Criteria Summary: A description of contributions in each of the five (5) listed nomination criteria, up to 400 words in each category.
  • References: A maximum of five (5) statements of support, up to 400 words each, one (1) of which must be by a professional educator. Note, if more than 5 statements are received, only the first 5 will be considered for review.
  • Resume: A professional résumé with relevant work history and training.
  • Biography: A 200-word biography written to highlight specific accomplishments for which the awardee was nominated.

Sample Bio:

John Doe is the principal at [a great school in Frederick County, Maryland.] [This great school] 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 her 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 Schools 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 screening committee of FCPS administrators and other staff will review the nominations and select a local finalist using a rubric evaluation system. The Washington Post will announce the regional winner in April 2024.