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National Distinguished Principal (NDP)

Alaska's 2024 National Distinguished
Principal, Heather Conn!

Stedman Elementary School Principal Heather Conn was named the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals National Distinguished Principal for 2024.

The Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals is proud to announce our National Distinguished Principal for 2024 is Heather Conn, Principal of Stedman Elementary School in Petersburg, Alaska.

Heather Conn was nominated and selected through a statewide search process conducted by the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals. Conn is a 4th generation Alaskan and a life-long resident of Petersburg. She graduated from the University of Alaska Southeast with a Masters of Elementary Education and Special Education, and went on to receive her M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska Southeast in 2015. She is currently pursuing a PhD in School Psychology. Conn began her career as a Lead Teacher on the Lummi Indian Reservation at a Head Start. She taught at Tlingit and Haida Head Start in Petersburg and has taught in many different self-contained programs. Conn has been at Stedman Elementary since 2015 serving as a fourth-grade teacher and special education teacher before becoming principal in 2019.


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.

Alaska's National Distinguished Principals


Josh Gill

2023 - LKSD

Denise Kelly

2022 - Kenai

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