Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary Principal Sharon Beck wins $25,000 leadership award


The Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award recognizes outstanding public school principals in Hawaii for their efforts in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students.

Ka‘ū High & Pāhala Elementary Principal Sharon Beck was named the winner of the 2023 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award at the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation annual dinner on Thursday evening. 

“This tremendous recognition of Principal Sharon Beck is a recognition of her leadership at Ka‘ū High & Pāhala Elementary,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “It’s her ability to bring the community together, all in the spirit of helping not only students, but their families and the overall Ka‘ū community.”

“Principal Sharon Beck rose to the top primarily because we were amazed by what she’s been able to accomplish given the area that her school is located in,” Island Insurance Foundation Chairman Tyler Tokioka said. “The location creates challenges that other principals may not face… the size of the area that she serves and the economic issues that the area can create logistical challenges, resource challenges, in addition to the normal learning challenges that all principals face.” 

Beck was awarded $25,000 – a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 toward a school project of her choice. Beck hopes to use the school award money toward bluetooth devices that would provide students with access to learning in remote areas that may not have WiFi access. 

“This award, to me, is a team recognition,” Beck said. “I couldn’t do this alone. It is the faculty, the staff — everyone at school that puts their heart and soul into our students.”

Two semi-finalists were also recognized — Kapolei High Principal Wesley Shinkawa and Kōloa Elementary Principal Leila Maeda-Kobayashi. Each semi-finalists received a $2,000 cash award.

Overall, 15 HIDOE principals — one from each complex area — were honored as nominees for the recognition and each received a $1,000 prize. 

The annual Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award honors the late Masayuki Tokioka, founder of Island Insurance Company, Ltd. and a proud graduate of Hawai‘i public schools. It was established in 2004 and is underwritten by the Island Insurance Foundation.


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