MSA Principal of the Year Program

EARLY DEADLINE: Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Online submission link forthcoming.
NOW AVAILABLE: 2019 Guidelines and Criteria (click on tabs below)

2018 National Magnet Principal of the Year

Dr. Michael Lofton, Spring Hill High School, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, Columbia, South Carolina
Dr. Michael Lofton is the founding principal of Spring Hill High School, a career pathways magnet school in School District Five that offers five focus programs to students from grades 9-12 including: Engineering, Entertainment, Entrepreneurial, Environmental Studies and Exercise Science academies. Through these academies, students are immersed into high tech, real-world environments which develop core knowledge, ignite imagination and make learning relevant by using themed standards-based curriculum. This approach enhances college and career readiness by guiding students to make critical connections between their educational journey and the dynamic world. Spring Hill is the second highest rated high school in the state and its students consistently perform above state and national averages on SAT, ACT, and AP exams.

*Sponsored by American Education Solutions | Croton on Hudson, New York

Congratulations to our 2018 Regional Principals of the Year:


Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont


The Springfield Renaissance School
Theme(s): Expeditionary Learning (EL) school with a STEM focus
Grade(s): 6-12
Springfield Public Schools
Springfield, Massachusetts


Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, The District of Columbia and International


Parkville Middle School
Theme(s): Applied Engineering, Sustainable Engineering and Architectural Systems, Visual & Graphic Arts, and Mass Communication
Grade(s): 6-8
Baltimore County Public Schools
Parkville, Maryland


Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands


Air Base K-8 Center
Theme(s): International Education; Cambridge Program School
Grade(s): K-8
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Homestead, Florida


Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee


Spring Hill High School
Theme(s): Career Pathways
Grade(s): 9-12
School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties
Chapin, South Carolina


Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas


North Heights Entrepreneurial Leadership Magnet
Theme(s): Entrepreneurial Leadership
Grade(s): 5-6
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Texarkana, Arkansas


Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin


Summit View Elementary
Theme(s): Integrated Arts, Design and Creativity
Grade(s): 4K-5
School District of Waukesha
Waukesha, Wisconsin


Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montano, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming


Northeast Magnet High School
Theme(s): Visual Arts, Law & Public Service and Science
Grade(s): 9-12
Wichita Public Schools
Bel Aire, Kansas


Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, Marianas Islands and Trust Territory of the Pacific


Mansfeld Magnet Middle School
Theme(s): Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Grade(s): 6-8
Tucson Unified School District
Tucson, Arizona


Magnet Schools of America’s Magnet Principal of-the-Year (POY) Award annually recognizes an outstanding school leader who has succeeded in providing “innovative programs that promote equity, diversity, and academic excellence for students in magnet schools.”

The award honors a PreK through K-12 Magnet School Principal whose school is a member in good standing of MSA for 2018-2019 by November 2, 2018*. Candidates must demonstrate excellence within the following criteria:

  • evidence of leadership in promoting equity and diversity among students and staff within the magnet school
  • evidence of leadership toward equitable academic success for all students
  • evidence of leadership in supporting the implementation and sustaining of an innovative magnet program, and
  • evidence of leadership within the district and the magnet community.


*Membership inquiries, please email OR call 202.824.0672


Nominees must be principals who:

  • Are currently serving as a principal at one or more PreK-12 or K-12 Magnet school(s) for a minimum of three years;
  • Demonstrate and encourage curriculum creativity and innovation;
  • Foster cooperation between the school and the community;
  • Maintain a continuing dialogue with students and parents as well as faculty and staff;
  • Keep abreast of developments in the field of education;
  • Encourage team spirit;
  • Demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment to equity and diversity in classrooms;
  • Continue to play an active role in the classroom; and who
  • Maintain their position as principal through-out the 2018-2019 school year; and has the ability to travel and represent Magnet Schools of America as an Ambassador for the 2018-2019 school year if selected as National Magnet Principal of the Year.

ALL PREVIOUS MONETARY WINNERS are NOT eligible for five (5) years after the award.


  • Nomination for Principal of the Year must by submitted by the district Magnet Director.
  • Only MSA Members/Districts may submit candidate nominations.
  • Districts may submit only one candidate.
  • Nomination materials:
    • The Magnet Principal of the Year Signatures Page, download here;
    • Applicant Information, complete online;
    • Short Professional Bio with Narrative Describing your Magnet School, complete online;
    • Description of each Application Criteria (Narrative), see next tab, to demonstrate excellence of performance in leading a Magnet School, complete online;
    • A letter of nomination explaining why the nominee is deserving of the award, signed (upload online as a PDF);
    • Three letters of recommendation including one from a parent, one from a community partner, AND one from a co-worker or an administrator, letters must be signed (upload online as separate PDFs);
    • A professional resume (upload online as a PDF); and
    • An applicant photo – head shot (upload as .jpg, .jpeg, or .png).

The following information will be ENTERED ONLINE during the submission process.  The narrative for each criteria must be completed by the candidate or nominator.

Criteria 1: EQUITY & DIVERSITY (25 pts)

in no more than 900 words

Nominees must present evidence of leadership in promoting equity and diversity among students and staff within the magnet school and also:

  • Involve teachers, staff members, parents, students and the community in achieving the goals of the magnet program;
  • Model the Magnet school’s mission to promote equity, diversity and high expectations for academic achievement within the school;
  • Teach, coach, and assist others in professional development that focuses on student learning;
  • Demonstrates collaborative leadership in building capacity for the Magnet school; and
  • Plan events that celebrate the diversity of students and staff on campus.


in no more than 900 words

Nominees must present evidence of leadership toward equitable academic success for all students and also:

  • Improve teaching and learning by implementing theme based Magnet programs to improve efforts for student achievement;
  • Observe, supervise, and evaluate teachers and the instructional programs to maximize the learning opportunities for every teacher and for every student;
  • Analyze multiple sources of data to improve instructional practices and outcomes for student achievement;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of teaching, learning and research of innovative programs that maximize student performance; and
  • Facilitate a process of developing and maintaining the co-curricular programs that complement the magnet curriculum while fostering students’ success.


in no more than 600 words

Nominees must present evidence of leadership in supporting the implementation and sustaining of an innovative magnet program and also:

  • Model values, beliefs, and attitudes that inspire others to higher levels of performance and exemplifies MSA’s mission;
  • Build sustainable magnet theme-based programs;
  • Include business and industry as part of a school advisory council;
  • Utilize all staff in keeping the theme current; and
  • Encourage and model the integration of technology throughout the curriculum.

Criteria 4: DISTRICT & MAGNET COMMUNITY (25 pts)

in no more than 350 words

Nominees must present evidence of leadership within the district and the magnet community and also:

  • Promote student achievement at School Board and District meetings;
  • Create structures that enable teachers to develop an appreciation for each student’s abilities;
  • Acknowledge achievement or accomplishments of students, teachers, and school/community members;
  • Communicate effectively both orally and in writing; and
  • Develop and maintain dialogue with representatives of diverse community groups.


CANDIDATE INFORMATION - to be completed online

The following candidate information will need to be populated during the online submission process:

  • School
  • Grade Level(s)
  • Elementary or Secondary (includes middle & high schools)
  • Years as Magnet Principal
  • School Address
  • School URL/Website
  • School District
  • Magnet Theme(s)
  • Phone and Cell Phone
  • Email

Short Professional Bio (no more than 50 words): Description of what you consider being your greatest education contribution and accomplishment as a magnet principal.

Narrative describing you magnet School (no more than 250 words)


upload PDF during the online submission process

Resume should include education, administrative experiences, professional growth opportunities and dates (i.e., memberships and offices held in professional organizations/associations; professional development activities; publications/articles; leadership positions/roles).


upload during the online submission process

Photo must be a professional headshot (high resolution) in one of the following file formats :. jpg., jpeg or .png


upload PDF during the online submission process

Download blank signatures page HERE. Three signatures needed:

  • Nominee Verification
  • Nominee Assurance
  • Magnet Director/Designee

The Magnet School must be a paid member of Magnet Schools of America (MSA) for 2018-2019 by Friday, November 2, 2018. Membership inquiries, please call 202.824.0672.

Learn how to become a Nationally Certified Magnet School

Raise the level of performance consistent throughout school districts nationwide and creates a platform from which all magnet schools can flourish. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.

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