Inside AWSP



Principals, assistant principals and those who support their efforts are making a difference in the quality of education offered in Washington state. There are several prestigious awards that celebrate individuals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement and community involvement as well as individuals who advocate for education and the principalship.

Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year

Each year, AWSP recognizes an outstanding principal as the Washington State Principal of the Year. We also recognize one Washington State Assistant Principal of the Year. The awards provide significant recognition on the regional and state level. Principals and assistant principals are nominated each year. Their applications are scored by a review panel, and four winners are chosen to represent our state at the national level. Those awards are:

  • National Association of Secondary School Principals | Principal of the Year
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals | Assistant Principal of the Year
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals | National Distinguished Principal
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals | National Outstanding Assistant Principal

From that list, we select one state principal as our Principal of the Year and one AP as our Assistant Principal of the Year. NASSP will select one principal and one Assistant Principal to be their respective national winner. In September 2012, Trevor Greene became our state's first National Principal of the Year. NAESP does not select a national winner.

Current Winners

Principals and AP of the year winners

Award Pages

Torch of Leadership Award

The Torch of Leadership Award honors individuals serving in the Washington state government who have demonstrated outstanding support of principals and the principalship. The award was established in 2009.

Nominations are submitted by members of the AWSP Advocacy Advisory Council, and the final selection is made by committee and AWSP staff members. Recipients are named in the spring after the legislative session and honored in October at the AWSP’s fall meeting of the Legislation Committee.

2021 Winner: Senator Sam Hunt (D - 22nd)

Each year, AWSP’s Advocacy Advisory Council has the opportunity to select a state-level public servant who has demonstrated support of principals and the principalship in the education of all students. For 2021, the Council selected Senator Sam Hunt as AWSP’s 2021 Torch of Leadership Award winner. Senator Hunt is a Democrat representing the 22nd legislative district, which includes Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater.

Senator Hunt is a fantastic champion of students and educators. His 2021 budget proviso resulted in $10 million for Outdoor School for All. The Washington School Principal’s Education Foundation is managing these funds. Starting this fall, districts can use them to help pay for 5th or 6th graders to attend outdoor residential camps across Washington. As a member of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, Senator Hunt also sponsored and supported many other education bills, as well as bills related to retirement benefits, voting rights, and elections.

Senator Sam Hunt official portrait

President's Award

The AWSP President’s Award is given to a person outside the association who has advocated on behalf of principals and the principalship in Washington state. Recipients are chosen by the AWSP Board in consultation with the AWSP executive director. The award is presented at the association's annual conference in June.

2021 AWSP President's Award | Washington State Principals & Assistant Principals

This year, we get to honor all of you. You were able to lead your staff and students through the pandemic. You lead with empathy and compassion for both kids and adults. You created equitable systems out of thin air. You built new master schedules, online schedules, hybrid schedules, and lunch schedules...likely multiple times. You communicated with your school community like never before. You were positive even while others might have been negative. You understood student voice was more important than ever before. That's why you are the President's Award winner this year. 

president's award trophy

United States Senate Youth Program 

Each year, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation sponsors two high school juniors or seniors from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to attend the United States Senate Youth Program - an all-expense paid, weeklong tour of Washington, DC and to receive a $10,000 scholarship.

In Washington state, the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) administers the program. Through the AWSL, AWSP sponsors the seven week-long High School Summer Leadership Camps for student body officers, class officers and other student leaders. A selection process is identified and implemented at each camp session, with two students being selected as finalists for the Senate Youth Program scholarships from each camp.

2020-21 Winners

Ailani Baldwin senior picture

Ailani Savannah Baldwin
Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School
Evergreen Public Schools

Khanh Đoàn headshot

Khanh Doan
 Mariner High School
Mukilteo School District

For More Information About the Process, Scholarship, and Winners

The Washington State Principals' Scholars Program

This is a recognition award is given to the top 5% of the senior class of each high school. Principals can download the Award for Academic Excellence certificate below. 

For More Information 

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

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