Madison County Assistant Principal Andrea Datson Named Alabama's 2022 NAESP National Outstanding Assistant Principal

Dr. Andrea Datson of Riverton Elementary School in the Madison County School System has been chosen as Alabama's Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year for 2022.
Apr 5, 2022 by Alyssa Godfrey, CLAS Director of Communications & Technology

HUNTSVILLE, ALA. – MARCH 28, 2022: Dr. Andrea Datson, assistant principal at Riverton Elementary School in the Madison County School System has been named Alabama’s 2022 NAESP National Outstanding Assistant Principal by the Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators (AAESA). The awards program is sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

Andrea Datson NAESP Assistant Principal of the Year 2022

Datson has served in various roles throughout her career in education including autism specialist, collaborative teacher, behavior interventionist, and an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She earned a Master of Education degree from Alabama A&M University in 2003 and another Master of Education degree from Jacksonville State University in 2018. In 2010, she obtained an Education Specialist degree from Middle Tennessee State. Then in 2019, Datson received her Doctor of Education from Nova Southeastern University.

As an assistant principal with a background in behavioral processes, she worked closely with the leadership team to evaluate the school’s Response to Intervention plan. As a result of the evaluation, Datson conducted training for both new and veteran teachers which focused on research-based strategies and supports. Demonstrations through modeling and monthly collaborative meetings led to decreases in unwanted behaviors. A point system was also introduced to incentivize students for good behavior which has played a role in the school’s decrease in discipline referrals.

Datson has also made an impact through the self-contained classroom. By working with the teacher, BCBA, and instructional assistants, she was able to transform the self-contained classroom’s environment from one of chaos to one that promotes academic and behavioral growth. The students in this program are now capable of checking their own schedules, transitioning appropriately, complete assigned tasks, and participate in whole group instruction with minimal assistance.

“Dr. Datson uses her strong leadership qualities to make our school a better place for children by developing relationships with all stakeholders, developing a culture of high expectations for behavior, and serving as an advocate for the students and families in our community,” says Riverton Elementary School Principal Haley James.

A panel of judges selected Datson from numerous applicants across the state of Alabama. Her award was presented at Riverton Elementary School on March 28, 2022.

“This award is a testament not only to the caliber of leadership that Dr. Datson provides to Riverton Elementary School, but also the care and concern she shows for the whole school community,” said CLAS and AAESA Executive Director Dr. Vic Wilson. “I’m proud to recognize Dr. Datson for this well-deserved award.”


About the NAESP National Outstanding Assistant Principal Award: The National Association of Elementary School Principals is committed to preparing assistant principals to step into the principal role. We want to honor assistant principals who are doing a superb job in their roles. This program promotes educational excellence for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade (Pre-K-8) schooling and calls attention to the fundamental importance of the assistant principal. NAESP will share their successes and best practices in a practical document for other principals to utilize.

About AAESA and CLAS: The Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators is 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

Photo: Dr. Andrea Datson named Alabama’s 2022 National Outstanding Assistant Principal. [download photo] Pictured (left to right): Dr. Vic Wilson, CLAS and AAESA executive director; Dr. Andrea Datson, assistant principal; Mrs. Haley James, principal; and Mr. Allen Perkins, superintendent.