Highline Principal Alexandria Haas Will Represent Washington as a National Distinguished Principal

David Morrill, Communications & Technology Director, AWSP
Jan 14, 2022
NAESN National Distinguished principal graphic
Alex Haas headshot

McMickenHeights Elementary principal provides a clear vision: To dream it, believe it, achieve it, and exceed it.


Alexandria Haas, principal at McMicken Heights Elementary in the Highline Public Schools, was named this year’s Washington State National Distinguished Principal. Every year, the National Association of Elementary School Principals recognizes one winner from each state. After reviewing nominations, Ms. Haas has been chosen to represent our state by the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP). 

Haas is a courageous leader who embodies Zaretta Hammond’s — a leading author on culturally-responsive teaching — “warm demander” stance. She leads a culture of high expectations and excellence, while still promoting social-emotional learning and culturally responsive instruction to serve all students. She inspires all students and staff at McMicken Heights Elementary (McMicken) to aim high and achieve their fullest potential. 

“Alex’s strong leadership and encouragement have helped push my practice since my first day as a classroom teacher. She has helped me become a more effective teacher and our school become a more inclusive place for all students. She is always there when I need support, but also trusts me to know when to step back and encourages me to take risks and make my own choices,” said McMicken teacher Spencer Flanagan.

Under Haas’s leadership, collective efficacy embodies the belief that together we are stronger. Strong collaboration is apparent through professional learning communities (PLCs), teaching teams, and partnerships with families. Under Ms. Haas’s leadership, the school has made significant gains. Since 2014-15, student SBA proficiency rates jumped substantially, from 37.3% to 55.3% in ELA and 25.7 to 44.2% in Math.

McMicken serves a diverse community with 88% of students identifying as students of color and 41% identifying as multilingual learners. Haas has built a strong partnership with families through family advisory councils and Academic Parent Teacher Teams, gathering input from families to drive the work on diversity and equity at McMicken. She designs professional learning to support McMicken’s staff in embracing culture and identity in their practice while tapping into family and community knowledge to support this work. Haas is the driving force for McMicken’s shared vision for excellence, and as a result, the school has been recognized for its impact on student achievement, inclusion, family engagement, and more. 

When asked to name three of her favorite big accomplishments as principal, no easy task for a school with so many accomplishments, Haas mentioned breaking down barriers to an inclusive culture, impacting student growth, and developing a more equitable partnership with families. 

National Distinguished Principal of the Year Program
Haas will be honored next fall in Washington D.C. as part of the National Distinguished Principal of the Year program, sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education. All state winners participate in a series of events and activities over the course of two days, culminating in a formal awards banquet. There is no national winner at the elementary level.      

Download the press release (PDF)

For More Information 

David Morrill | Communications & Technology Director | (800) 562-6100

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