Hawaii’s principals of the year announced

A gathering at the Hale Koa hotel Sunday afternoon was designated to salute the efforts of the state’s outstanding high school and middle school principals. If teachers are the foot soldiers in the pursuit of student learning, principals are the commanders. Waipahu high school principal Keith Hayashi was proud to accept his award on behalf of his entire staff.

Coincidentally, the school had a visit last month from Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

“It was a validation of our efforts at Waipahu High School. And I know that our students and our teachers and our school community were very happy to have Secretary Duncan come and visit us.” Waipahu high school principal Keith Hayashi said.

We wondered what Elynne Chung, Mililani Middle School principal of the year thought was most important for her students.

“I think the most important job for me as a principal – I think everybody needs to take care of themselves first and take care of their families…because when you do those two things, you can come to school every day and really concentrate on what you need to do.” Mililani middle school principal Elynne Chung said.

Needless to say, Chung was proud of her award.

“And it’s about the great people and the great students that we have at our school, so I’m really tickled to be here today.” Chung said.

We mentioned Education Secretary Duncan’s visit to Waipahu High School. He had high praise for the progress the school has made under Hayashi’s leadership. The students are involved in hands on learning when it comes to things green – aquaponics, organic gardening and more.

Hayashi, like Chung, started their careers as teachers so we wanted to know…

Teacher first, principal now. Which is a tougher job?” KHON asked.

“Well, I think both of them have their challenges. It’s a little different. Both teachers and principals focus on having students achieve high qualities of success.” Hayashi said.

Hayashi and Chung will both head to Washington, D.C. In September to take part in the National Association of Secondary School Principals Institute.

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