Inside AWSP

High School Principal of the Year Award

The High School Principal of the Year award honors principals who have demonstrated excellence in a variety of areas, from personal achievement to collaborative leadership.

Nominations Are Closed Until The Next Round!

A winner for 2019 has been chosen! Watch for details about our 2020 nomination window. If you'd like to be notified when nominations are open again, email David

2019 High School Principal of the Year

Jason Smith

As principal of John R. Rogers for five years, Mr. Smith and his staff have adopted an "AP For All" philosophy, believing that all students should experience the rigor of an Advanced Placement class. This has increased the number of students taking AP exams by more than 30%. Mr. Smith also fully believes that one of the most important things he can do as a principal is to hire great teachers. Mr. Smith writes, "I have become very aggressive in hiring. I've come to embrace the philosophy that it is 'people not programs' that make a difference."

Assistant Principal Anne Hoban says, “Governor John R. Rogers is not only home to the most ethnically diverse population in the Puyallup School District, but also houses many targeted programs for Special Needs Students, such as the self-contained KITE (Behavior Program), Support Center (which includes a range of special needs students from intellectually disabled to medically fragile students) as well as our school district WRAP Program (which educates all students on the Autism Spectrum in our school district). Jason Smith is intricately involved in each of these programs, ensuring these students have equal access to general education programs when appropriate, as well as working one-on-one with families when behaviors create a barrier to access.”

Jason Smith Headshot


Jason Smith
Gov. John R. Rogers High School
Puyallup School District

Selection Process

State and regional level

Each year, a panel of principals representing the Washington Association of Secondary School Principals selects a state winner from a pool of regional nominees. The regional level winners, known as Distinguished League Principals, go on to compete at the state level.

The winner of the Washington State High School Principal of the Year award is recognized annually at the AWSP/WASA Summer Conference, along with individuals who received the Washington State Elementary and Middle Level Principals of the Year awards.

National level

The state winner becomes eligible for the National Principal of the Year award. Three high school finalists are selected from the pool of state winners and compete for the award in Washington, D.C. The MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year, sponsored by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals receives a $5,000 grant for use in improving learning at their school.

The national honorees are distinguished guests at the Principals’ Institute in Washington, D.C., in October and at the NASSP Conference in the spring. Each national winner also receives a crystal award and banner to display at his or her school.

Past Winners

View a list of past High School Principal of the Year winners.