During the opening ceremony of the 2021 National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) Tournament on June 13, it was announced that Princeton Academy Head of School Alfred F. Dugan III was honored as Middle School Administrator of the Year. This prestigious award is selected annually by the NSDA and this is the first time that an administrator has been awarded from New Jersey.
Dugan is an esteemed, well-respected educator who has served and led in New Jersey independent schools for over 20 years. His experience ranges from co-ed settings to all-boys schools. He is a graduate of Williams College and holds a master's degree from Teachers College, Columbia University.
In his nomination letter, Director of Technology & Summer Programs Raymond Shay stated, "Rik is an outstanding supporter of speech and debate activities on the middle school level, as well as an advocate for helping all students find and share their voice."
In addition to his primary roles at Princeton Academy, Shay also serves as the school's Speech & Debate Team Coach and is recognized as an NSDA two-diamond coach. Five years ago, Princeton Academy created a speech & debate program and in 2017, the school joined the National Speech & Debate Association.
Through the pandemic, Dugan worked with the Princeton Academy coaches to ensure that students on the speech & debate team not only could continue to compete online, but that the program could actually grow and accommodate even more students participating in NJ Speech & Debate League tournaments, national invitationals, and the NSDA Middle School Speech Challenge in 2020 and 2021.
In his acceptance speech, Dugan emphasized the importance of effective communication, "Amidst these extraordinary times the competency of communication is perhaps the most important skill young leaders can hone... When combined with authentic empathy and an appreciation for another's perspective, effective communication has the power to bring about positive change in the world."
The National Speech & Debate Association's Middle School Administrator of the Year program began in 2016 as a means to recognize outstanding middle school principals and administrators. The program annually honors administrators who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students in speech and debate programming as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.
About the National Speech & Debate Association
The National Speech & Debate Association is the authority on public speaking and debate in the United States. The Association builds the infrastructure for speech and debate competitions around the world by providing topics, educational resources, and training for students and coaches. For nearly 100 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has built a platform for youth voices that culminates in the National Tournament, the largest academic competition in the world. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.
About Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart
Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart is an independent school for boys in Kindergarten through Grade 8. At Princeton Academy, we believe that #HeCanBe creative when he is given the time and space to explore, compassionate when he discovers the good within himself and courageous when his full potential is realized. Through transformational experiences, dynamic academic endeavors, and devotion to character development guided by the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria, we bring out the best in boys. Learn more about Princeton Academy here: www.princetonacademy.org.