Inside AWSP

Principal of the Year


Each year, AWSP recognizes three principals with Principal of the Year awards, celebrating elementary, middle and high school principals. We also recognize one assistant principal every year. The awards provide significant recognition on the regional and state level. The middle and high school level winners are eligible to compete at the national level. In September 2012, Trevor Greene became our state's first National Principal of the Year. 


Nominations for the 2018-19 Principal of the Year are now closed! We'll select two principals of the year at the state level, one for elementary and one for secondary. The deadline for applications has closed.

Principals of the Year



Gina Naccarato-Keele
Linwood Elementary
Spokane Public Schools

Naccarato-Keele has a vision at Linwood Elementary of “High Expectations and Maximum Support for Every Student Every Day.” She created structures and supports to help meet high expectations, including programs like the Child Study Team (CST), which creates a plan for students needing a little extra support. Naccarato-Keele leads her staff at Linwood Elementary in a great environment, creating a warm culture and always putting the students first. 

“A high-needs school, Linwood’s students, staff, and community members demand great devotion and attentiveness. Gina demonstrates a high degree of professionalism when working with all stakeholders.” Principal Jody Schmidt of Whitman Elementary said describing Naccarato-Keele. She continues, “She relentlessly pursues options to provide her families with support that ultimately helps students. Her mission is high expectations with maximum support. This belief is evident in the halls and the voices of the teachers and Linwood. They believe in her and her vision, and work to create and live that vision in their classrooms.”

Previous to her ten years as principal at Linwood Elementary School, Naccarato-Keele was the assistant principal at for a year at Regal Elementary School in the Spokane Public School District from 2007-2008.

Middle Level


Marc Gallaway
Selah Middle School 
Selah School District

Gallaway makes a powerful impact on the students at Selah Middle School by creating a positive culture within the school. When he started, the staff was fractured, but in the fifteen years as principal, he has created a team full of great morale and strong core values. The teachers and students at Selah call it, “The Viking Way”. Gallaway dedicates his time to build relationships within the school and is continuously empowering his staff to always be their best selves and to do their best work.

“We appreciate how he is always respectful and hopes the best for all of us. We also like how every morning Mr. Gallaway greets us with a smile on his face,” said a student. Another comment from a teacher said, “The approach Marc takes is teamwork and collaboration. He leads by being the lead learner, and we follow that lead trusting his amazing vision for our school."

Gallaway has been working in education for twenty-one years, fifteen of those years being principal at Selah Middle School. Before becoming a principal, Gallaway worked as a special education teacher at Selah High School. He received his Masters from Heritage University in 2003.

High School


John Gummel
Kelso High School
Kelso School District

Gummel’s goal at Kelso High School is a 100-percent graduation rate. Since 2008, Gummel and his team increased the graduation rate from 75 percent to a 90 percent graduation rate. He transitioned the school to a trimester system rather than a semester system, offering more credits and opportunities to help students reach the graduation requirement. As one of the early adopters in changing the sacred cow of the high school schedule, Gummel’s influence stretches far beyond Kelso –– he regularly helps other districts figure out their own path to helping students with the 24-credit graduation requirement.  

“You create space for leadership for others.” Said Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich. “You have teachers who lead, you have an administrative team who leads and you have kids who lead. In our community our kids are known as leaders and as givers and that comes from a culture that’s been developed here,”

Gummel had become principal of Kelso High School in 2012, after being vice principal of the high school since 2007.

Assistant Principal of the Year


Tami Skillingstad
Westwood Middle School
Cheney School District

Congratulations to Tami Skillingstad, the 2018 Assistant Principal of the Year! Tami has been at Westwood Middle in Cheney PS for five years as assistant principal and athletic director. She has a passion for building leaders and involving them in relevant activities that support school improvement goals. Her colleagues describe her as creative and innovative in designing solutions for middle school issues, such as the development of public service announcements about the importance of attendance that go out over the School Messenger System.

For More Information 

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