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  • PSSAM Staff

Excellence Personified: Celebrating the 2024 Maryland National Distinguished Principals

April 05, 2024


A hearty congratulations to Dr. Raegon Clutz, Jr, principal of Pangborn Elementary in Washington County Public Schools and Melissa Shindel of Glenwood Middle School in Howard County Public Schools for being honored as the 2024 Maryland National Distinguished Principals.

The National Distinguished Principal (NDP) Program is a recognition program from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). NAESP's National Distinguished Principal program was created in 1984 to "recognize elementary and middle level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for the students, families and staffs in their learning communities." Every year since, NDPs are recognized from Pre-K through 8th grade public and private schools nationwide, as well as from overseas. Elementary and middle- level principals are nominated by peers of their state and then final selections are made by committees appointed by NAESP's state affiliate offices. Those from private schools and overseas schools are selected additionally by special committees.

The National Association of Elementary School Principals in collaboration with the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP) have recognized Dr. Raegon Clutz, Jr and Melissa Schindel as award recipients as the 2024 National Distinguished Principals for Maryland. Please read more about each individual and their contributions and achievements below.

Dr. Raegon Clutz, Jr.

Pangborn Elementary

Our elementary level 2024 National Distinguished Principal is Dr. Raegon Clutz, Jr. from Washington County Public Schools.  Dr. Clutz has been a successful leader in Washington County Public Schools as a principal and assistant principal.  He has led one of the largest and most diverse Title I schools as a hands-on servant leader.  Dr. Clutz has engaged collaboratively with teachers, administrators, and staff to plan and deliver effective and rigorous instruction.  His nominators noted that he goes above and beyond to support the community.  He has served on the board of directors for the local health authority, as well as on the board for the local little league, and for Leadership Washington County.  Dr. Clutz is considered by his peers to be a solutions-focused leader who always seeks win-win outcomes.

Melissa Shindel

Glenwood Middle School

Our middle-level 2024 National Distinguished Principal is Melissa Shindel from Howard County Public Schools.  Her nominators shared that Ms. Shindel is an extraordinary leader whose dedication, vision, and commitment to excellence have had a profound effect on the multiple schools and communities she has served.  They also noted that Ms. Shindel engages and creates partnerships with all stakeholders.  The personal and professional well-being of her staff comes first as she advocates for a balanced approach to work and life.  The PTA president at Glenwood expressed her thanks for the positive atmosphere Ms. Shindel has created.  She also praised her for her visibility within the school and her innate ability to connect with students. 



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