State finalist for Principal of the Year to be honored in D.C.
August 7, 2023
Marina High School Principal Morgan Smith will be honored as a state finalist for the 2024 Principal of the Year Program by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
ACSA is a state affiliate of NASSP.
NASSP’s National Principal of the Year program recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals from all 50 states. Each year, an ACSA Administrator of the Year in either the Middle Grades Principal or High School Principal category is selected for this national award.
Smith was selected as a state finalist by ACSA’s Middle Grades and Secondary Education Councils.
“I am proud to see Dr. Smith represent California for this prestigious recognition as he has been noted as an innovator and a champion for student connection to school, and fostering a relationship with a caring adult for every student in this changing educational paradigm,” said Derrick Lawson, NASSP board member and principal of Indio High School. “It is even more a point of pride to note that he is a recognized role model and leader at the same high school where he got his start as a first-year teacher years ago! I am sure they are Viking proud!”
One of Smith’s top priorities is to model engagement with all school activities. He attends nearly every athletic event and performing arts show at the Marina High School campus, conducts walk-through administrative meetings, and puts himself at the forefront of staff development planning.
Smith’s strategy of leading by example has fostered strong relationships with students and staff. He helped to develop a districtwide Student Wellness professional development program and is active in efforts to address student and community needs, such as facilitating staff equity retreats and school diversity, equity and inclusion training.
Dan Bryan, director of certificated human resources at Huntington Beach Union High School District, said one of Smith’s strengths is his ability to value “each person’s name, face and story.”
“I know his sincere desire to build relationships has made a positive impact at Marina, especially in light of being a principal at a high school during a pandemic,” Bryan said.
From the state winners, three finalists are named as contenders for the National Principal of the Year award. All state finalists will be honored at the National Principals Institute in September in Washington, D.C.
Marina High School Principal Morgan Smith.
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