Lawson receives national award for service to school principals

August 10, 2020
ACSA’s State Coordinator for the National Association of Secondary School Principals Derrick Lawson has been presented with the organization’s highest honor. Lawson received the Distinguished Service to NASSP Award, which recognizes service that has contributed significantly to NASSP’s vision to support great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. ACSA is a state affiliate of NASSP.  During a virtual awards ceremony July 20, NASSP President Peter Kruszynski presented multiple awards, including the National Assistant Principal of the Year and the National Digital Principals of the Year. “NASSP is proud to hold you up as models of the great leadership happening in today’s schools,” he said. Lawson is the NASSP State Coordinator for California as well as Lead Coordinator for NASSP Region 7, which includes the states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. “NASSP has been an exceptional support to my personal and professional growth,” Lawson said in his acceptance speech. A high school graduate of the very district he now works for, Lawson was a teacher, federal projects facilitator, elementary principal and middle school principal in Desert Sands USD before taking his current post as principal at Indio High School. In 2011, he was ACSA’s Middle Grades Principal of the Year. A testament to his passion for professional development, Lawson also directs ACSA’s Principals Academy to help prepare the next generation of school site leaders. In addition, Lawson provides legislative advocacy professional development to his district peers to support the provision of equitable access for underserved groups. “The opportunity to provide professional development and advocacy support is one of the most fulfilling aspects in connecting and working with my peers,” he said. Lawson spoke about adopting NASSP’s tagline on its website “Educate. Motivate. Advocate.” as his personal mantra. He also reflected on recent dramatic shifts in educational paradigms brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to leap from the age of information to the age of innovation. “Now more than ever, it is critically important for principals to engage one another and work together to embrace the age of innovation — to blaze a trail in this new educational paradigm that will shape future generations,” he said. “I invite you today to give back and to serve one another. Let us engage our peers to educate, motivate and advocate as we join hands to walk across the bridge to our educational tomorrow.”
Indio High School Principal Derrick Lawson gives his virtual acceptance speech during the National Association of Secondary School Principals awards ceremony on July 20. 
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