Rhode Island First Year Principal Award

As part of its continuing efforts to recognize and celebrate outstanding educational leadership, the Rhode Island Association of School Principals annually honors the “First Year Principal” in the state. RIASP established this award in recognition of the excellent work done by those new to the principalship.

Superintendents, central office administrators, principals, other building administrators and teachers may nominate for First Year Principal.

A RIASP selection committee will review all submitted documents and select two finalists.  The selection committee will conduct site visits to the finalists’ schools in late November/December.

RIASP Accepts Nominations in December Each Year

 First Year Principal of the Year 

*[Watch your emails in the months of September through December for this nomination request]

All nominees must meet the following criteria:

RIASP member currently, and having had been a member for one (1) full year 

Principal for one (1) complete year

Nominees would therefore currently be active principals, and in their second full year.

Letters of nomination may be emailed to Robert Littlefield at rlittlefield@riasp.org.  The one to two page letter of nomination should reference the candidate's leadership capacity, and at least one particular accomplishment achieved during their first full year.  

Once nominated, we (RIASP) will contact your nominee and forward the application packet to them.  The application packet is quite comprehensive,  so it is advantageous to nominate a candidate in timely fashion.  

A RIASP selection committee will review all completed nomination packets.  At least two (2) finalists shall then be identified.  For validation purposes, the selection committee will then conduct school visits, and shall ultimately select the Rhode Island First Year Principal of the Year. 

Finally, if you are aware of an outstanding First Year Principal, please do not hesitate to nominate them.  The sooner the better.  The deadline for submitting nominations is UPDATED EACH YEAR.  Send letters of nomination to Robert Littlefield at rlittlefield@riasp.org.  



2009 - Gail Dandurand - Narragansett Elementary School

2010 - Steven Morrone - Ashaway Elementary School

2011 - Janet Lyons - Austin T. Levy School

2012 - Lori DeSimone - Greystone Elementary School

2014 - Kathryn Tancrelle - Hopkins Elementary School

2015 - Michaela Keegan - Juanita Sanchez Education Complex

2016 - William Black - West Broadway Middle School 

2017 - Jennifer Daigneault - Halliwell Elementary School 

2018 - Mark DeCiccio - Samuel Slater Middle School 

2019 - Maryann Crudale - Frenchtown Elementary School 

2020 - Brian Gilmore - Birchwood Middle School

2021 - Chip McGair - South Kingstown High School

2022 Outstanding New Principal

Mr. Frank Galligan

Warwick Neck Elementary School, Warwick

(L to R) RIASP executive director Bob Littlefield, First Year POY Frank Galligan, Warwick superintendent Lynn Dambruch

About FYPOY Frank Galligan:  How do you follow in the footsteps of a Rhode Island Principal of the Year and not be viewed as a letdown by your teachers, students, and community?  That’s exactly what Frank Galligan was wondering when he took over Warwick Neck Elementary for 2019 POY Patti Cousineau. He found the solution was to be your own leader and stay true to your own leadership style. It has served him well as he won the hearts of the WNES community and the enthusiastic praise from Patti herself from her position as Franki’s boss in Warwick’s central office.

Frank impressed the community with his communication skills as he strove to make sure every member of the Warwick Neck community was “in the loop.”  He kept established traditions going even in the pandemic and started a few of his own. He has been a strong supporter of the Feinstein Good Deeds  program by helping to continue Warwick Neck’s  food pantry and schoolwide good deeds tree. He was instrumental in planning a tree planting ceremony in memory of Mr. Feinstein’s son Ari. 

A graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School (the school’s president and principal both attended the surprise presentation in the spring!) Frank received his undergraduate degree in history from Assumption University, a Master’s degree in secondary education from Providence College and a Master’s degree in school leadership from Harvard. Prior to arriving at Warwick he held teaching positions in parochial schools in Pawtucket, Cranston, and Boston.


© 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. 

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