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VJA's Othman named Illinois Assistant Principal of the Year

Horace Mann and the Illinois Principals Association are pleased to announce that Abir Othman, Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at Victor J. Andrew High School, Tinley Park, has been named the 2020 Illinois Assistant Principal of the Year. The award recognizes assistant principals who have demonstrated a positive impact on their students and learning community. Criteria for the award include:

  • Demonstrates a positive impact on education and advocacy for children
  • Ensures the school climate is positive and reflects high staff and student morale
  • Moves actively to implement the goals and objectives of the school
  • Works collaboratively with teachers and other staff to improve the educational program and student achievement
  • Involves the community in the life of the school and uses community resources for students.

"Helping others is what I am meant to do," said Othman in this video interview.

Abir Othman

Abir Othman has been an educator for twenty-two years, serving the last seventeen in Consolidated High School District #230. She currently serves as Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at Victor J. Andrew High School. She previously served as Associate Principal of Student Services at Andrew High School, Head Dean of Students at A.A. Stagg High School (Palos Hills), and Dean of Students at Andrew High School.

“There are numerous competencies and attributes principals must possess to be effective instructional leaders including being a visionary, putting the needs of others first, having effective communication, showing empathy and compassion, creating strong relationships, celebrating student and teacher success, and being a resource for students, teachers, and parents,” said Othman. “I try to exemplify these attributes daily in my role as Associate Principal at Andrew High School.”

Othman prides herself on fostering connections with students and families. She has fostered growth in student organizations to meet the interests of all students including student-led clubs for video gaming/e-sports, Christian Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Gay Straight Alliance, and Project SAVE-Students Against Violence. She also meets monthly with the Thunder Pride Parent Organization to collaboratively work on ways to enhance the school, and recently led an initiative to increase accessibility for Title I parents to attend evening meetings at the school by providing babysitting, transportation and interpreters.

“Abir can be found mentoring students and staff, developing and implementing curriculum, and modeling what it means to care about the experiences, needs, and dreams of each person in the school community,” said Dr. James M. Gay, Superintendent of Consolidated High School District 230. “She is a champion for all students as she cultivates opportunities for them to find their true gifts and contribute them to the school community and the greater world.”

The Assistant Principal of the Year winner was selected from a pool of region nominees provided by the 21 Regions of the Illinois Principals Association. Othman will be recognized at the IPA’s annual Education Leaders Annual Conference in October 2020.
Horace Mann -- the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators' financial needs – provides auto and homeowners insurance, retirement annuities, life insurance and other financial solutions. “Founded by Educators for Educators” in 1945, the company is headquartered in Springfield, Ill. Visit for more information.

The Illinois Principals Association is a leadership organization which serves over 5,800 educational leaders throughout the state of Illinois. You can find out more about the IPA at Visit for more information about the IPA Principal of the Year Awards Program.