15 HIDOE principals honored as 2023 Tokioka 'Excellence in School Leadership' nominees


Principal nominees for this year's prestigious Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award announced.

Fifteen Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) principals – one from each complex area – were honored as the latest nominees for the 17th annual Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award

HIDOE leaders joined the Island Insurance Foundation and public officials including state Sen. Carol Fukunaga and Honolulu City Councilwoman Val Okimoto to recognize the honorees at an event at Island Insurance's Honolulu offices.

The 2023 principal-nominees, who each received a $1,000 prize, are:

  • Sharon Beck, Ka‘ū High & Pāhala Elementary (Ka‘ū-Kea‘au-Pāhoa Complex Area)
  • U‘ilani Kaitoku, Hau‘ula Elementary (Castle-Kahuku Complex Area)
  • Suzie Lee, Mā‘ili Elementary (Nānākuli-Wai‘anae Complex Area)
  • Nathan Maeda, Maunawili Elementary (Kailua-Kalaheo Complex Area)
  • Leila Maeda-Kobayashi, Kōloa Elementary (Kapa‘a-Kaua‘i-Waimea Complex Area)
  • Amy Martinson, Highlands Intermediate (Pearl City-Waipahu Complex Area)
  • Komarey Moss, Red Hill Elementary (‘Aiea-Moanalua-Radford Complex Area)
  • Jason Nakamoto, Leilehua High (Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area)
  • Chad Okamoto, Pu‘u Kukui Elementary (Baldwin-Kekaulike-Kūlanihāko‘i-Maui Complex Area)
  • Jacqueline Ornellas, Lincoln Elementary (Kaimukī-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex Area)
  • Christopher Sanita, Hāna High and Elementary (Hāna-Lahainaluna-Lāna‘i-Moloka‘i Complex Area)
  • Wesley Shinkawa, Kapolei High (Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area)
  • Lisa Souza, Waiākea Intermediate (Hilo-Waiākea Complex Area)
  • Kori Takaki, Kahakai Elementary (Honoka‘a-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena)
  • Jason Yoshimoto, Kamilo‘iki Elementary (Farrington-Kalani-Kaiser Complex Area)

A top winner will be named in April at the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation annual dinner and receive $25,000 – a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 toward a school project of the principal’s choice. Two semi-finalists will each receive a $2,000 cash award.

“This is the 17th year that we’ve had this award and the level of candidates has been truly amazing. It’s a testament to the public schools system that they continue to strive and achieve greater and greater things – something that we’re proud to be able to support and try to grow,” Island Insurance Foundation Chairman Tyler Tokioka said.

The 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.

“It’s so meaningful when we have organizations like the Island Insurance Foundation and the Tokioka family recognizing our hard-working school principals who give their time and energy in leading our school communities,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. 

Hayashi, who was a recipient of the top award in 2013 when he was principal of Waipahu High School, added: “What that meant for our community, it recognized the efforts of all of us coming together to support our students. The recognition today for our principals is not only a recognition of their efforts, but the collaborative efforts of everyone working together in our schools to move public education forward.”


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