Assistant Principal of the Year 2023 Winner
Surrounded by supportive student government members, newly named Assistant Principal of the Year Brian Sawislak stands with MASSP Executive Director Wendy Zdeb in the Troy High School media center after the surprise announcement at a staff meeting.

Brian Zawislak, Assistant Principal of Troy High School, has been named Michigan’s 2023 Assistant Principal of the Year by the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals and the Michigan Association of Student Councils and Honor Societies. Zawislak will represent Michigan as the state’s nominee for the National Association of Secondary School Principals Assistant Principal of the Year competition, which will be awarded in April 2023 during AP Week and state APOYs will be celebrated at the NASSP Principals Institute in Washington, D.C.  

Zawislak’s nominator, a student at THS and School Student Government Executive Board Vice-President (now college student), Sarayu Bethamcherla, highlighted Zawislak’s student focus as he consistently makes an effort to establish relationships. Bethamcherla shared a story of herself being intimidated to approach an administrator, but “from the second I conversed with Mr. Zawislak, I felt comfort in his smile and service.” 

Bethamcherla continued to share stories spotlighting Zawislak’s impact on her future due to connections he has made for her. 

“[I am] forever changed by experiences and people that Mr. Zawislak connected me to,” she said. “ … [my future career path] is a result of the support of my Assistant Principal who uplifts student potential and encourages the pursuit of passions inside and outside of the classroom.”

Zawislak has 20 years in education, 15 of those years served at Troy, with six as an administrator. In his nomination he was described as having infectious energy, being visible, approachable, a servant leader, and a collaborative and student-centered administrator, integrating student voice in aspects of his administration-level decisions. 

Remo Roncone, Troy High School Principal, said Zawislak is a role model for staff and students. 

“He really has had an extremely large and positive impact on everything that we do,” Roncone said. 

Roncone went on to say how fortunate he is to work alongside Zawislak. 

Throughout Zawislak’s nomination, it was indicated that his goal is to foster a personal connection with everyone he meets and interacts with at THS, noting Zawislak takes great pride in the community he has created. 

“It is Brian's unique ability to relate to students and teachers that places him above most other administrators I have worked with in the Troy district,” said Zawislak’s coworker, Melissa Curth, THS Assistant Principal.

His nomination demonstrated how Zawislak is dedicated to the THS community, focusing on bettering himself and bringing the community with him by supporting professional development for staff at all levels and growth of the student body. 

“Brian is a well respected leader in his community and statewide. His focus on student voice, staff growth and leading by serving, are all proof of his devotion to his community and profession; which truly speaks for why he was chosen by a committee of both students and administrators to represent Michigan as the Assistant Principal of the Year,” said Wendy Zdeb, MASSP Executive Director.

To qualify for this award, nominees must have served in an Assistant Principal role for at least three years in grades 6-12. Additionally, nominees must demonstrate a sense of collaborative leadership; involvement in curriculum, instruction and assessment; as well as a personal positive involvement with district staff, students and families. The selection committee includes students and principals from the Michigan Student Leadership Board of Delegates and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals Board of Directors.