Principals 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.


Adina Brito: Elementary Principal of the Year (2017)

Adina Brito
Evergreen Elementary
Shelton School District

Brito leads the only dual language school in the Shelton School District. Many of Evergreen’s parents have limited English proficiency, so Brito has made parent outreach an integral part of her work. She hosts monthly Tea and Talk events to inform parents of initiatives and address concerns. Brito focuses on creating fun, hands on activities that can be replicated at home through other events like Reading and Math Nights and Community Hope Gardens. She has created a warm and welcoming environment for students and parents alike. 

“High expectations and standards for all is the rule for all students at Evergreen, but at the same time Adina is empathetic and passionate to ensure that all students succeed in all respects, not only academically,” noted Shelton School District Superintendent Alex P. Apostle, Ph.D, who went on to add, “She is also a visionary and embraces the philosophy of challenging the “status quo” in her effort to provide the very best and challenging opportunities for both staff and students.”

Read more about Adina.
View our announcement photo gallery.

Doug Kaplicky: Middle Level Principal of the Year (2017)

East Valley Middle School
East Valley School District

Kaplicky has been principal at East Valley Middle School for three years, overseeing a transition from a K-8 school to a middle school in just 42 days. The process started with an empty 70,000 square foot building with no phones, computers, and a new staff flooding in from eight other schools. A positive school culture of trust, innovation, and creativity was borne out of a challenging situation that could have been easily derailed by a myriad of challenges. 

“During his entire tenure at East Valley Middle School, Doug Kaplicky has exemplified what it means to be a great principal and a great leader, “ remarked his assistant principal, Stacy Delcour. “He has vision, follow through, and a true calling to serve students by putting kids in the middle of all decision making. He is thoughtful with his planning and execution of a whole school program and is intuitive to the needs of both the school and the greater East Valley Community.”

Read more about Doug.
Watch our announcement video

Dan Besett: High School Principal of the Year (2017)

Dan Besett
Wilson High School
Tacoma Public Schools


Under Besett’s leadership, Wilson set a state record by winning six consecutive School of Achievement awards, dating back to 2011. Wilson’s graduation rate has climbed to 94 percent, highest of any of the comprehensive Tacoma high schools. Besett’s dedication, focus on student success, and his support of all students and staff were prominent themes in his nomination.  

“Dan really leads by example. He’s the first one here in the morning and he’s often the last one to go,” said Bernadette Ray, Wilson’s Assistant Principal. “He’s the Ram Man. He’s 100 percent Wilson Rams, everyday.” 

Read more about Dan.
Watch his announcement video.

Ricardo Iñiguez: Assistant Principal of the Year (2017)

Ricardo Iniguez
Wenatchee High School
Wenatchee School District


“Ricardo, in conjunction with his PBIS implementation team, has created positive recognition systems that have students recognizing staff, students recognizing students, and staff recognizing students for the positive things that happen in our building,” said Wenatchee High School Principal Eric Anderson. “We saw our attendance rates increase, our out-of-school consequences decrease, and our number of students passing classes increase.” Since leading the new PBIS initiative, now in its second year, changes are evident. Students are excited to see their picture posted in the hallway for the positive recognition, the staff have been honored with a picture in the local paper, and the community has bought into the changes by financially supporting Wenatchee High School’s work around recognizing students. In his ten years at Wenatchee High School, Iñiguez has shown great dedication to kids and community.

Read more about Ricardo.