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4041 N. Central Ave., Ste. 1200
Phoenix, AZ 85012



Exemplary Principals

Maricopa County Exemplary Principal Award

The Maricopa County School Superintendent values school leaders that support and empower teachers by providing excellent education opportunities to students. The superintendent annually announces the Maricopa County Exemplary Principal Award to school leaders who:

  • Exemplify practices and leadership (during the past three school years) that contribute to high expectations and exceptional student learning.

  • Actively engage staff, parents and community members in developing an effective school culture.

  • Utilize data to guide instruction and decisions regarding staff development.

  • Have a history of high teacher retention.

  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully develop and inspire others.

Exemplary Principal Selection Process

Nomination Process

  • Researchers review the last three years of achievement data to identify schools with a history of high student achievement, student growth and teacher retention. Superintendents or charter holder representatives are then invited to nominate principals who meet the established criterion.

Selection Process

  • Phase One:

    • Nominated principals are invited to complete an online application. The application asks for evidence of a strong student and community-centered culture focused on teaching and learning.

    • Applications are reviewed by the selection committee.

  • Phase Two:

    • A teacher survey is sent to the staff of selected principals.

    • Surveys are reviewed by the selection committee. Semifinalists are selected.

  • Phase Three:

    • Semifinalists participate in a video interview with the selection committee.

    • Finalists are determined based on evidence of highly effective leadership practices.

  • Phase Four:

    • Selection committee conducts site visits which include interviews with selected staff members, classroom walkthroughs, and an observation of a leadership team meeting.

  • Phase Five:

    • The selection committee reviews their observations and narrows the field to a prestigious group of recipients.