MAESP participates in the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) National Distinguished Principal┬« (NDP) program. The NDP program was established in 1984 to recognize elementary and middle level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staff in their learning communities.  The program was based on three fundamental ideas:

Children’s attitudes towards learning and their perceptions of themselves as lifelong learners are established in the beginning years.

The scope and quality of children’s educational experiences are determined primarily by the school principal, who establishes, through the important work of teachers and the support of caring parents, the character of a school’s program.

The dedication and enthusiasm of the outstanding principals who guide children’s early education experiences should be acknowledged to both show appreciation for their work as well as to allow them to serve as models for others in the field.

Criteria established by NAESP require the individual to be a practicing principal with at least five years’ experience in the principalship, who plans to continue as a practicing principal. The principal must demonstrate evidence of outstanding contributions to the community and to the education profession. The principal must:

Be a member of NAESP at the time of  nomination and maintain membership through the conclusion of the NAESP Award Ceremony,

Have been a building principal (not assistant principal) for 5 years,

Be clearly committed to excellence,

Lead programs designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students; and

Have firm ties to parents and the community.

Each of the eleven MAESP Regional Networks nominates a MAESP member principal who meets the above-mentioned criteria as its Regional Distinguished Principal Honoree. From these initial honorees, one is selected as the Missouri National Distinguished Principal and represents Missouri and MAESP at the NAESP NDP Celebration held each October in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to the 2020 Missouri Distinguished Principals!


John Finnane
Maple Grove Elementary
Warrensburg R-VI
Central Region

Leah Copeland
Winnwood Elementary
North Kansas City 74
Clay-Platte Region


Scott Readnour
Hillsboro Intermediate
Hillsboro R-III
Jefferson County Region


Troy Hogg
Hawthorn Hill Elementary
Lee's Summit R-VII
Kansas City Suburban Region


Stacy Hamlett
Louisiana Elementary
Louisiana R-II
Northeast Region


Rachel Turner
Ellis Elementary
Clinton County R-III
Northwest Region


Scott Davidson
Owensville Elementary
Gasconade County R-II
South Central Region


Brad Owings
Poplar Bluff Middle School
Poplar Bluff R-I
Southeast Region


Beth Engelhart
Sweeny Elementary
Republic R-III
Southwest Region


Tracy Daniels
Sunshine Elementary
Springfield R-XII
Springfield Region


Howard Fields
Givens Elementary & Steger Sixth Grade Center
Webster Groves
St. Louis Suburban Region


Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals
3550 Amazonas Drive
Jefferson City, MO  65109

Phone: 573-638-2460
Fax:  573-556-6270
maesp@maesp.com

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