The Hawai‘i Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association (HEMSAA) named Fern Elementary School Principal Glen Miyasato the state’s 2023 National Distinguished Principal at an awards event on Sunday.
This National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) award annually recognizes elementary and middle school principals from across the country who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for their students, families and school staff.
As Hawai‘i's National Distinguished Principal, Miyasato will be invited to Washington, D.C., in the fall, where he will represent Hawai‘i and be recognized for his excellence in leadership along with other national state awardees.
Miyasato has been with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education for more than four decades. Affectionately known as Po‘o Kumu, the Hawaiian word for head of school, Miyasato has led Fern Elementary since 2018. He oversees a student body of approximately 400 students, with nearly half of students having limited English proficiency and 95% of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
Miyasato was praised by Complex Area Superintendent Rochelle Mahoe as an instructional leader who exudes the Department's Nā Hopena A‘o (HĀ) competencies of belonging, responsibility, excellence, aloha, total well-being and Hawai‘i. As an example, she shared, he leads the school's "walking school bus" from neighboring public housing complexes to the Kalihi campus each morning.
"We depend on each other as administrators, because who else do we have to talk to about the things that go on in our schools – the wonderful things as well as the difficult things – so I appreciate all of you," Miyasato told his fellow administrators in the audience after receiving the top award.
Miyasato (Honolulu District) was one of seven finalists for this year's award – representing each of the HIDOE's districts.
- Stacy Bookland, principal of Lāhainā Intermediate (Maui District)
- Heather Dansdill, principal of Hilo Intermediate (Hawai‘i District)
- Glen Iwamoto, principal of Waimalu Elementary (Central District)
- Alexandra Obra, principal of Waiāhole Elementary (Windward District)
- Christine Udarbe-Valdez, principal of Nānāikapono Elementary (Leeward District)
- Jason Yoshida, principal of Kaumuali‘i Elementary (Kaua‘i District)
Superintendent Keith Hayashi and sponsors at HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union joined HEMSAA leadership to recognize the nominees at the Hawai‘i Okinawa Center on Sunday.
"Our school administrators are a cornerstone of our educational system and provide the foundation on which student success is built," Hayashi said. "I am incredibly proud and humbled by the dedication of our award nominees ... for their commitment and perseverance in advancing the academic achievement and social-emotional well-being of all of our students."
From left: Superintendent Keith Hayashi, Waimalu Elementary Principal Glen Iwamoto, Hilo Intermediate Principal Heather Dansdill, Kaumuali‘i Elementary Principal Jason Yoshida, Fern Elementary Principal Glen Miyasato, Nānāikapono Elementary Principal Christine Udarbe-Valdez, Lāhainā Intermediate Principal Stacy Bookland, Waiāhole Elementary Principal Alexandra Obra, and HEMSAA State President Dale Castro.