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11 Public School Principals Nominated for Excellence in School Leadership Award | Business

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11 Public School Principals Nominated for Excellence in School Leadership Award
Business, People, Schools
11 Public School Principals Nominated for Excellence in School Leadership Award

Principals Receive Commendations from Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi

The Island Insurance Foundation has recognized 11 outstanding public school principals nominated for its Eighth Annual Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award on Saturday, March 31st.
Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi presented commendations to the nominees in a ceremony at the Island Insurance Center. The Island Insurance Foundation presented each nominee with a $1,000 personal cash award and commemorative plaque.
The recipient of the annual award, named in honor of the late Masayuki Tokioka, founder of Island Insurance Company, Ltd., will be announced at the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation Dinner on Friday, April 13, 2012.
The selected principal will receive a $10,000 personal cash award and an additional $15,000 for a school project of his or her choice. Two semifinalists will receive a $2,000 personal cash award. The award recipient is being selected by a committee composed of selected Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation Board members and professionals in the education field. This year’s awards program was open to all public school principals.

The 11 qualifying public school principals are: Disa Hauge, Maili Elementary School; Lanelle Hibbs, Kailua Elementary School; Debra Lindsey, Koloa Elementary School (Koloa, Kauai); Meredith Maeda, Castle High School; Fern Markgraf, Kahului Elementary School (Kahului, Maui); Robin Martin, Shafter Elementary School; Justin Mew, Niu Valley Middle School; Marsha Nakamura, Lahaina Intermediate School (Lahaina Maui); Ruth Silberstein, Palolo Elementary School; Janette Snelling, Kohala High School (Kapaau, Hawaii); Brenda Vierra-Chun, Wheeler Middle School.
“My grandfather, Masayuki Tokioka always believed that education, integrity and hard work were the keys to success,” said Tyler Tokioka, Island Insurance Foundation President. “All that he achieved would not have been possible without the public school system that provided him with the foundation to pursue unlimited opportunities,” he added.
“In order to be a strong leader in today’s educational environment, public school principals must be dedicated, creative, community-minded, and have an entrepreneurial spirit, all qualities that Mr. Tokioka possessed. We hope that this award will showcase their leadership and inspire others in public education,” Tokioka added.
“As educators, we have an important responsibility and commitment to our students and the community. My heartfelt congratulations to this year’s outstanding nominees,” added DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.
The previous award recipient was Tom Kurashige, principal of Aiea Intermediate on Oahu. The committee recognized him for his tireless efforts with his staff to restructure the school, build confidence in his students and elevate learning by developing instruction that is personalized and assessment-driven.  Today, Aiea Intermediate boasts exemplary programs created to meet student’s intellectual, social and developmental needs. All students participate in small learning communities called “Academic Core Teams,” as well as science fairs, history day competitions and essay contests.  Kurashige also worked to obtain grants such as the UPLINK Grant from the Department of Human Services to develop after-school study hall and tutoring, athletics, drama and dance, and to provide technology-forward learning tolls in the classrooms.
Kurashige used the award to build a solid foundation for the aquaponics system and incorporate the program into inter-disciplinary instruction. It also supports the school’s ambitious effort to power the aquaponics system with wind and solar energy.
Criteria for the award are based on research done by the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy at the University of Washington regarding the impact of school leadership on learning environments. The study concluded that school and district leaders can advance powerful and equitable learning by establishing a focus on learning, building professional communities that value learning, engaging external environments that contribute to learning, acting strategically and sharing leadership, and managing improvement activities based on student performance data.
An immigrant from Japan, Tokioka moved to Hawaii at age 12 and graduated from McKinley High School in 1921. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Master of Business Administration degree in international commerce from Harvard University in 1927. His business career spanned 70 years, during which he founded several successful enterprises such as Island Insurance Company, Ltd., International Savings & Loan Association, Ltd. and National Mortgage & Finance Company, Ltd. Tokioka was also a driving force in establishing many community-focused entities such as the Hawaii Immigrant Preservation Center, Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation and the Japanese Cultural Centers in Hawaii and San Francisco.

The Island Insurance Foundation was established as the charitable arm of Island Insurance, Hawaii’s largest locally owned and managed P&C insurance carrier. Island holds financial strength ratings of “A” by A.M. Best and Fitch Ratings and is the only Hawaii-Based company to be recognized as one of the Top 50 property & casualty insurance companies in the nation by the Ward Group for four consecutive years.  For more information, visit its website at: www.islandinsurance.com.

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