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National Distinguished Principal (NDP)

Alaska's 2023 National Distinguished
Principal, Josh Gill!

Josh is the proud principal at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik School in Bethel, Alaska.

Josh was nominated and selected by her fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals.

Josh graduated from the University of Maine at Fort Kent with a B.S. in Elementary Education and went on to receive his M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2007. Prior to beginning his service at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik School in 2021, Gill served both as the Principal of Gladys Jung Elementary and Mikelnguut Elitnaurviat School, as well as as the Director of Personnel in the Lower Kuskokwim School District.  Josh will be honored at an event in Washington DC this fall.


If you would like to nominate an outstanding Alaskan administrator for this award, please email us at the link below!

It is time to start thinking about nominations for the
2024 Alaska National Distinguished Principal!!

National Distinguished Principal Information

Eligibility for nominees:
• is a member of NAESP prior to submitting their application in May;
• is an active principal of a school in which a commitment to excellence is clearly evident;
• has been an active principal for at least five years;
• will remain in active service in a position of school leadership during the school year in which he/she will serve as NDP;
• shows a strong commitment to the principalship through active membership in professional associations;
• is respected by students, colleagues, parents, and the community at large;
• assumes an active role in his/her community, distinguishing himself/herself as a leader in civic, religious, or humanitarian activities;
• shows strong educational leadership by setting high expectations for school staff and students; and
• maintains an orderly, purposeful learning environment.

ALL completed applications are due in FEBRUARY each year to the President -elect of AAESP.
Lori Ruckdaschel

Alaska's National Distinguished Principals


Heather Jones

2021- Anchorage

Eric Pederson

2020- Kenai

Douglas Gray

2019- Anchorage

Michael Angaiak

2018- Fairbanks

Lisa Vrvilo

2017- Matsu

Kate LaPlaunt

2016- Fairbanks

Anita Stevens

2015- Anchorage

David Kingsland

2014- KPBSD

Cheryl Stickler

2013- Haines

Barbara Nagengast

2012- Anchorage

Tim Doran
2011- Fairbanks

Richard Toymil
2010- Anchorage

Leslie Campbell
2009- Fairbanks

Barbara Pile
2008- Fairbanks

Ron Fried
2007- Kodiak

Pete Swanson
2006- Kenai

Ed Scherer
2005- Anchorage

Mary Johnstone
2004- Anchorage

John Kito
2003- Anchorage

Kathie Cook
2002- Fairbanks


Dan Blanton
2001- Talkeetna

Karl Schleich
2000- Matsu

Davis Nufer
1999- Palmer

Rick Ladd
1998- Kenai

Sharon Meacham
1997- Anchorage

Kathy Benson
1996- Fairbanks

Arge Jeffery
1995- Anchorage

Linda Black
1994- Anchorage

Dave Dirkson
1993- Wrangell

Bill Breeden
1992- Anchorage

Diane Borgman
1991- Kenai

Jim Starry
1990- Anchorage

Lewis McLinn
1989- Kenai

Bett Fami
1988- Fairbanks

Jerry Schoenberger
1987- Yakatat

Darleen Trent
1986- Anchorage

Virginia Maesner
1985- Kenai

Robert Schell
1984- Sitka