Len Foster knows principals.

He was one: a high school principal in Reno, Nevada, from 1988 to1993.

Foster is now a professor of educational leadership and higher education, as well as the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Education, whose research includes studying principals. He is seeking to understand what traits make for an exemplary school administrator, helping establish the national standards for the principals’ position, and editing national journals that apply research results to practical issues for principals.

For all those reasons, Foster received the 2007 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (online @ www.nassp.org ).
“Len Foster has been a bridge between research and practice,” explained Dick Flanary, director of professional development services at NASSP. “He’s a researcher who provides principals with information about results that increase student achievement.”

Flanary listed some of Foster’s achievements. He served as the founding editor of the association’s journal, “Connections,” and is now the editor of the “NASSP Bulletin,” a peer-reviewed research journal. He served two terms on the Principal Preparation Task Force and was the co-editor of “The Changing Role of the Middle Level and High School Principal” (which Flanary notes is a “must-read” for all new principals). He has presented his research at NASSP conferences for almost a decade. He is one of 10 members of a research panel created to update the national standards for principals originally established in 1996.
“He has unselfishly given of his time and expertise to benefit principals and their students,” Flanary said.  “Without question, he deserves this award.”