In 2016, the decision to chose one (1) Secondary Principal of the Year was made rather than having one winner in the Middle School category and one winner in the High School category and this will be the procedure going forward.  

RI High School/Secondary Principal of the Year

Each year RIASP selects a Rhode Island High School Principal of the year who then becomes eligible for consideration as the National High School Principal of the Year.

The NASSP National Principal of the Year award program annually recognizes outstanding school leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students.  These principals are acknowledged by their peers for the exemplary contributions they have made to the profession.  The program honors school principals who have demonstrated excellence in collaborative leadership; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and personalization.

Anyone may nominate an eligible principal – a superintendent, a principal, a teacher, a parent, a student.


High School Principal of the Year

2005 - Gerald Foley - North Kingstown High School

2006 - Robert Mitchell - Chariho Regional High School

2007 - Colleen Gribbin - St. Mary's Academy Bay View

2008 - Robert Littlefield - Portsmouth High School

2009 - Daniel Warner - Narragansett High School

2010 - Patti DiCenso - Rogers High School

2011 - Dennis Mullen - Pilgrim High School

2012 - Daniel Kelley - Smithfield High School

2013 - Michael Hobin - Coventry High School

2014 - Scott Sutherland - Mount Pleasant High School 

2015 - Alan J. Tenreiro - Cumberland High School

(2016 - Category combined with Middle School and made Secondary title)

2016 - Jason Masterson - McCourt Middle School 

2017 - Christopher Savastano - William E. Tolman High School 

2018 - Joseph Hurley - Barrington High School 

2019 - Kevin McNamara - Lincoln High School 

2020 - Craig MacKenzie - Chariho Regional High School

2021 - Deborah DiBiase - Mt. Hope High School

2022 - Scott Barr - Providence Classical High School

2022 Secondary Principal of the Year

Scott Barr - Providence Classical High School

About SPOY Scott Barr:  Talk about a pressure job!  You are the principal of a school that opened its doors in 1843 and is steeped in a rich tradition of academic excellence, the demographics of the school have changed dramatically in the last two decades, and the mayor of the city is your former history student. Scott Barr has led Classical High School for the last fourteen years with an eye on the past, another eye on the present, and a vision for the future. With a student body as diverse as any in the state, Classical has maintained its stature as the #1 school in Rhode Island as ranked by US News and World Report. By Barr’s own admission it is a humbling experience to walk through the halls each day surrounded by Rhode Island’s future judges, doctors, legislators, and scientists.

The selection team’s visit to Classical this spring revealed a consistent theme expressed by everyone we interviewed - that Mr. Barr is the heart and soul of the school and he takes his responsibility of the Classical tradition very, very seriously as he constantly reminds students to approach every situation with “grace, humility and dignity”. Classical students appreciate their opportunity to have a strong voice in charting the course of the school.

While the school has always had a strong academic program in humanities, math and science, Barr has made it a priority to expand the language and fine arts programs to ensure a well rounded Purple graduate.

The Lincoln High School graduate earned his BA degree at the University of Rhode Island, his master’s degree in teaching from RIC, and studied for his school leadership credentials at Providence College.  Save a brief stint as an assistant principal at Cranston East, he has spent his entire career at Classical. First as a history teacher, then department chair, and as principal for the last fourteen years.  He has served as a member of the Interscholastic League’s Principal Committee on Athletics since becoming principal.


© 2015 Rhode Island Association of School Principals

Rhode Island Association of School Principals is a 501(c) 6 Non-Profit Organization



401-272-9811 ext. 2 

Robert E. Littlefield, Executive Director 

Cheryl Iiams, Adm. Asst. 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software