Keith Hayashi becomes first high school principal to receive Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction


The Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society recognized Waipahu High Principal Hayashi during PTK Catalyst 2021, the society’s annual convention, on April 9.

Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi has been recognized for his leadership and strong support of student success with an award historically only given to college presidents.

Every year the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society celebrates college presidents who have demonstrated strong support of student advancement on their campus with the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction award.

Hayashi is among the nine recipients of this year’s award. He was nominated by his students in recognition of his tenacious efforts and commitment to continuously building stronger career pathways and providing invaluable mentorship, despite a global pandemic. He is the first high school principal to receive this distinguished award.

In an award letter, PTK President and CEO Lynn Tincher-Ladner said Principal Hayashi “worked hard to mentor and develop student leaders in completely unfamiliar circumstances.” Ladner said despite the pandemic making 2020 the most challenging year in recent history, Principal Hayashi worked exceptionally hard to overcome this obstacle, adding, “Your PTK students are so grateful.” 

The Shirley B. Gordon Award is named in honor of the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, PTK’s longest-serving Board of Directors chairperson and a founder and long-time president of Highline Community College in Washington. Until this year, the award was only presented to community college presidents.

In 2018 Waipahu High became the first high school in the nation to charter a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges. The school helped pioneer Early College in HIDOE schools, a program that brings professors onto high school campuses to teach college courses. 

“We are excited to celebrate Principal Hayashi and Waipahu High School’s award for their exceptional support of their students,” Pearl City-Waipahu Complex Area Superintendent Keith Hui said. “I commend Principal Hayashi’s strong leadership and resilience to continue providing academic opportunities for his students, despite the challenges faced due to the pandemic.”

PTK recognized Principal Hayashi and the other award winners during PTK Catalyst 2021, the society’s annual convention, on April 9. The event was broadcast live from Orlando, Fla., and was estimated to have over 10,000 virtual attendees worldwide. 

See video of the award winners here.


Other Waipahu High/PTK highlights:

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