MASSP: Northville High School Leader Named MI 2023 Principal of the Year

Tony Koski, Principal of Northville High School (NHS), has been named Michigan’s 2023 Principal of the Year (POY) by the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) and the Michigan Association of Student Councils and Honor Societies (MASC/MAHS). Koski will represent Michigan as the state’s nominee for the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Principal of the Year competition, which will be awarded in October 2023 at the Recognition Gala in Washington, D.C.

"The students, families and community that is Northville Public Schools is incredibly fortunate that Principal Tony Koski chose us as his professional and personal home. Mr. Koski possesses levels of humility and will that inspire those who serve beside him and those he serves to get after it every single day. Mr. Koski has impacted the lives of so many in a way that will stay with them and us forever and we are all humbly grateful," said Dr. RJ Webber, Northville Public Schools Superintendent.

Koski was nominated by his Assistant Principal at NHS, Emily Aluia and she was not alone. There was an outflow of support for his nomination from his community; from Koski’s previous and current colleagues, to employees/teachers, students and parents. 

Every letter of support mentioned his unwavering commitment and passion for the students. 

“Northville High School is a better, stronger, safer and more inclusive community as a result of Tony Koski’s leadership, heart, and love for students,” said Mary Kay Gallagher, recently retired Northville Public Schools Superintendent. 

NHS Parent Teacher Student Association President, Jodie Roden, explained how he is a joy to work with because of his positive and encouraging attitude. Previous Northville Assistant Superintendent Dave Rodgers agreed. 

“I had the pleasure of collaborating with Tony both as a colleague and as a parent,” Rodgers said. “He is a person of great heart and integrity.”

Koski has more than 30 years in education, 20 as an administrator and nine years at NHS leading 2,500+ students and 200+ facility members. Throughout his nomination, Tony is described as a mentor, an advocate and a friend. 

“Friendship encompasses all the important qualities of a leader. Friends are loyal, nonjudgmental, and are there for you when times get tough,” NHS senior Zach Ajluni said. “Mr. Koksi has displayed these traits time and time again.”

Additional words used to portray him were dedicated, inclusive, supportive and influential. 

“I can honestly say I would not be the educator I am without his support,” said Kelsey Mikiciuk, NHS Special Education Teacher, Department Chair and Unified Champion School Coordinator. 

Mikiciuk discussed how Koski shows his support and inspires teachers to be the best they can be. 

Koski has helped Northville expand post-secondary pathways, increased focus on evidence-based instructional practices, improved student support for academic, social-emotional and mental health needs and created a more student-centered and inclusive school community. 

“His effectiveness as a leader is amplified by his clear vision of quality teaching and learning, unmatched dedication, robust communication with all community stakeholders and a determination to ensure that every student experiences social, emotional and academic success to their greatest potential,” said Rebecca Peck, Northville Public Schools Assistant Superintendent of Communications, Development and Equity.

To be eligible for the award, nominees 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.

“Mr. Koski has repeatedly shown that to him being a principal is not just a job – it’s a lifestyle,” said Ajluni in Koski’s student letter of recommendation.

Koski was surprised by MASSP and his district during a pep assembly to announce he was selected as the award recipient. 

“It seemed only fitting that this award be presented to Koski at the conclusion of NHS’s Inclusion Week. Tony is a humble leader and always keeps the most important piece of education at the forefront, the students. It is an honor to have him representing Michigan as the 2023 Principal of the Year,” said Wendy Zdeb, MASSP Executive Director, after presenting Koski with the award.

Additional qualification for this award is that nominees must have served in a Principal role for at least three years in grades 6-12. 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.