Inside AWSP

High School Principal of the Year Award


About the High School Principal of the Year

2019 was the last year AWSP selected state principals of the year by grade level (elementary, middle, high). Want to know more about the new process and/or nominate someone? Head to the POY page. 

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

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 NASSP National Principal of the Year 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.