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Minnesota NAESP National Outstanding Assistant Principal AwardTM

The National Association of Elementary School Principals and MESPA are committed to preparing assistant principals to step into the principal role. We honor PreK-8 assistant principals who are doing a superb job in their roles. This program promotes educational excellence for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade (PreK-8) schooling and calls attention to the fundamental importance of the assistant principal. The award recipient will receive a FREE registration to NAESP's annual national conference in July and be recognized at the conference. 

Eligible Candidates for the Award: Candidate is a member of MESPA and NAESP and must maintain membership through June 30, 2022, be an active assistant principal, has been an active assistant principal for at least two years, and will be an active assistant principal at time of nomination. Applicant must contribute to the well-being of the educational community. Applicant must contribute to a positive and motivating environment for others. Applicant must have a strong record of service (in both school and community) and be recognized as a leader. Applicant must exhibit exceptional leadership in a particular school program and/or is heavily involved in finding a solution to a problem faced by the school.

How to Nominate and Apply:

Nominate an assistant principal! Do you know an outstanding assistant principal? Click here to nominate them! We will notify the nominee once the official NAESP application is available (fall 2021).

Applications due November 12, 2021: Applicants must submit a complete application, letters of reference, and a high-quality digital headshot. Click here to download the 2021-22 application.

Congratulations to the 2021 Minnesota NAESP National Outstanding Assistant PrincipalTM, Keisha L. Davis!

“Keisha Davis is a true leader of her school in the areas of restorative practice and cultural responsiveness,” said Jason Luksik, chair of MESPA’s NAESP Outstanding Assistant Principal selection committee, “It is evident in her practice that she helps students to find their voice and their purpose. Keisha is deserving of this award and will serve MESPA well in representing our members as the next Minnesota NAESP Outstanding Assistant Principal.”

Jeff Zastrow, Principal at Fernbrook Elementary School and former Principal of Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts, recommended Davis highly for this honor. “Keisha is a tireless leader, daily looking for the best ways to support and influence staff.” Zastrow said, “She seeks and delivers great professional development, holds a high standard for teacher performance with a racial/cultural equity lens at all times, and communicates clearly those expectations.”

Davis considers restorative practices to be one of her best methods as an educator. “These practices help those directly involved as well as those who were affected by an incident.” Davis said, “Restorative circles have been life-changing in my practice at our school. Scholars and staff alike comment on its power and request this process when incidents arise.” Davis explained that these practices impart a voice to those who are often not heard due to race, position, or other identities. As a result of restorative practice, the trajectory of scholars at Birch Grove Elementary School for The Arts and their behavioral data have changed.

Click here to read Keisha's full press release.


Previous recipients of the award were Ashley Farrington (2020), John Awsumb (2019), Tracy Sexton-Oliver (2018), Sara Schmidt (2017), Margo Kleven (2016), Christen Hull (2015), Michelle Rosen (2014), Toni Beckler (2013), and Frank Catchings, Jr. (2012).

MESPA is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization

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Roseville, Minnesota, 55113
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