Piedmont Elementary School Principal Brigett Stewart Named Alabama’s 2022 NAESP National Distinguished Principal

Brigett Stewart has been named Alabama's 2022 NAESP National Distinguished Principal by AAESA.
Mar 3, 2022 by Alyssa Godfrey, CLAS Director of Communications & Technology

Brigett Stewart Photo 1Mrs. Brigett Stewart, principal of Piedmont Elementary School in the Piedmont City School System has been named Alabama’s 2022 NAESP National Distinguished Principal by the Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators (AAESA). 

Stewart has served in various roles throughout her career in education. She has been a teacher, an adjunct instructor, a digital instructional specialist, and a director of technology before being chosen for the principalship at Piedmont Elementary School. Stewart earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and an education specialist degree in instructional leadership from Jacksonville State University.  

In her role as principal of Piedmont Elementary, Stewart collaborated with professors at Jacksonville State University (JSU) to create the “Piedmont Experience” program. This program allows first-time practicum students from JSU to visit Piedmont Elementary in order to observe classrooms prior to being placed in a school. The idea is to give these students the benefit of having best practices modeled for them by exemplary teachers. 

As a result of the Piedmont Experience, Piedmont Elementary teachers gained valuable insight into their own daily practices which sparked conversations about ways to make their instructional and management practices even better. JSU Pre-service teacher candidates were able to see best practices demonstrated in an authentic setting which led to increased comfort and experience once they were placed in a classroom setting. 

“Mrs. Stewart is one of the best administrators that I have encountered during my 34-year career in education. She is a smart and innovative leader that continuously searches for new ideas to improve the learning environment of her staff and students. What separates her from most, is the continual love and concern she has for all children, especially those that are underprivileged,” says Piedmont City Schools Superintendent Mike Hayes. 

A panel of judges selected Stewart from three finalists for Alabama’s National Distinguished Principal. She was presented with this honor at Piedmont Elementary School on February 22, 2022, in a schoolwide assembly. 

“Each time we honor an educational leader, I am amazed by the innovative ways they use their leadership to enhance educational opportunities in Alabama’s schools,” says CLAS and AAESA Executive Director Dr. Vic Wilson. “Brigett Stewart is no exception. At a time when we have a critical teacher shortage, she is helping to provide the skills needed to help the next generation of teachers be effective in the classroom and prepared for the challenges and rewards of the teaching profession.” 

The Alabama NAESP National Distinguished Principal program is presented by the Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators (AAESA) and is sponsored by Classworks. An office makeover is provided to the recipient by Interior Elements. Each year, the winner receives a trip to Washington, D.C., for the NAESP National Distinguished Principal Awards Ceremony. 

Stewart will be recognized at the Awards Luncheon during the CLAS Convention on June 14, 2022, at the BJCC in Birmingham, Ala. The CLAS Convention is the largest gathering of school leaders in the state of Alabama. Stewart will also be recognized at the AAESA Fall Instructional Leadership Conference in November 2022. 

About the NAESP National Distinguished Principal Award: Each year, NDPs represent Pre-K through grade 8 public schools from across the country as well as principals in U.S. private schools and those from the United States Departments of Defense Office of Educational Activity and the United States Department of State Office of Overseas Schools. Public school elementary and middle-level principals are nominated by peers in their state, and final selections are made by committees appointed by each of NAESP’s state affiliate offices. Honorees from private schools and overseas schools are selected by special committees. 

For more information, please contact CLAS Director of Communications & Technology Alyssa Godfrey at or (800) 239-3616. 

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About AAESA and CLAS: The Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators is a state chapter of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and an affiliate association of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS).  CLAS is an umbrella association that serves twelve different affiliates comprised of Alabama’s public school administrators.  CLAS is dedicated to providing the framework to connect dedicated school administrators and other successful leaders with a network for professional growth and support.  For more information, visit

About Classworks: Classworks is K-8 digital instruction in math, reading, and language arts proven to help students become critical thinkers and independent learners. Classworks provides individualized instruction for every student based on their assessment results to close learning gaps. Classworks also delivers on-grade level, rigorous lessons for the classroom that helps teachers teach through technology. Classworks results-driven, engaging educational solutions are built upon strong instructional pedagogy and technological innovation to improve teaching and learning. 

About Interior Elements: Interior Elements is a furniture dealer that services the K-12 market. Each year, Interior Elements provides an office makeover for the Alabama High School Principal of the Year. 

Photo 1: Brigett Stewart named Alabama’s 2022 NAESP National Distinguished Principal. [download photo] Pictured (left to right): Rickey Darby, AAESA; David Constantine, Classworks; Mike Hayes, superintendent of Piedmont City Schools; Brigett Stewart, principal of Piedmont Elementary School and Alabama’s National Distinguished Principal; and Dr. Vic Wilson, AAESA and CLAS executive director. 

Photo 2: Stewart poses with Piedmont Elementary Schools students. [download photo] 

Photo 3: Stewart’s family and friends join her for the presentation. [download photo]