Cornerstone Principal, Craig McCalla, Chosen As One of America’s Best

Hot off the press from the NAESP:

NAESP honors Michigan school leader during National Principals Month.

ALEXANDRIA, VA–October 4, 2018–Craig McCalla is among 62 outstanding elementary and middle school principals from across the nation and abroad who have been named as 2018 National Distinguished Principals (NDP) by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). McCalla is principal of Cornerstone Elementary School in Dexter, Michigan. The NDPs will be honored Oct. 12 at an awards banquet at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., as part of a two-day program.

Established in 1984, the National Distinguished Principals program recognizes public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. The principals will also have the opportunity to share best practices. The 62 principal honorees are selected by NAESP state affiliates and by committees representing private and overseas schools.

NAESP Executive Director Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE, congratulated the class of outstanding principals, noting their significant influence on the students, schools, and communities they serve. “Today’s principals are tasked with attending to students’ social and emotional needs at greater levels, even while they give their all to drive academic success in their school communities. NAESP’s National Distinguished Principals program recognizes the outstanding leadership of highly successful principals and is a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to outstanding school leaders.”

It is particularly fitting to acknowledge the work of principals in October because it is National Principals Month, which was established to recognize and honor the contributions of school principals and assistant principals toward the success of the nation’s students, and encourage awareness of their significance.

From the NAESP website:

“As principal of Cornerstone Elementary for the last 12 years, Craig McCalla has built on his background as a special educator to work in service of the academic and social needs of a diverse student population. Understanding how social factors can create barriers to wellness and success, McCalla has become a particularly strong advocate for LGBTQ students following the transition of a transgender student at Cornerstone. The father of this student says that their initial meeting with McCalla “changed the course of (their) family’s life forever,” leading the way for a overwhelmingly supportive response at the district level, which, unprompted, McCalla parlayed into passionate advocacy for state and national guidelines to support transgender students.

This is just one of the ways that McCalla’s service reflects the school motto “all means all.” He has also made schedule accommodations and built infrastructure for collaborative teaching as a way to increase Cornerstone’s capacity for differentiated instruction and created PBIS systems to invest in social and emotional development so that all students are fully prepared to participate in their communities.

McCalla is a founding member of his county’s first Transgender Task Force and has been listed in amicus briefs presented to the Supreme Court. He holds an Associates Degree from Siena Heights University, as well as an M.A. in Emotional Impairments and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University.”

NOTE: A list of the 2018 NDPs and their biographical information can be accessed at

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle school principals in the United States and internationally. NAESP supports principals as the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy and professional development, advocacy, programs, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP advances the profession on behalf of all principals, providing specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and capacity-building educator evaluation. For more information about NAESP, please visit


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