The Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators (HASSA) honored Mililani High School Principal Fred Murphy as the state’s National Distinguished Principal of the Year and Waipahu High School Vice Principal Meryl Matsumura as the Vice Principal of the Year during a luncheon today at the Hale Koa Hotel. Murphy recently returned from Washington D.C., where he joined 49 other state awardees at the National Association of Secondary School (NASSP) National Principal of the Year Institute and was formally recognized.
“Congratulations, Fred and Meryl, on this well-deserved recognition and mahalo for your dedication to the Department and Hawaii’s public school students,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “Your passion to change lives and continued commitment in striving for excellence on behalf of your schools are evident as we see the tremendous accomplishments of the students and staff at Mililani and Waipahu high schools.”
The luncheon also celebrated National Principals Month. NASSP, along with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators, have designated October as National Principals Month to help spotlight the hard work and dedication of school leaders.
Murphy has been an administrator for 13 years, and at Mililani High for seven years. He is a proud Mililani High alumni and is known to foster learning environments that promote innovation and creativity. Recent examples include implementing student advisories, training teachers and staff on new social emotional learning philosophies, increasing teacher involvement in school activities, and bringing Professional Learning Communities to the school. Under Murphy’s leadership, curriculum offerings have grown with over 23 Advanced Placement (AP) courses, the most of any public or private school in Hawaii, as well as 27 Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, 52 student extracurricular clubs and 47 athletic teams.
“Principal Murphy is a visionary leader to both Mililani High as well as the broader school community,” shared Complex Area Superintendent Robert Davis. “In addition to encouraging parent and community involvement in various school initiatives, he regularly leads meetings with community partners, helping to address issues and advocate for new initiatives to benefit the Mililani community.”
Matsumura has been an assistant principal at Waipahu High for 14 years and a school administrator for 23 years. She serves as the administrator for Waipahu High’s Academy of Natural Resources, where she facilitated a clear and purposeful shared vision with all stakeholders, led discussions on implementing and assessing relevant learning opportunities, and established an academy advisory board that included teachers, students, parents, and post-secondary and industry partners. Through her leadership, the Academy of Natural Resources was recognized by the National Career Academy Coalition as the first nationally certified academy of its kind in the nation.
Principal Keith Hayashi highlighted Matsumura’s leadership saying, “Central to all of Meryl’s efforts is equity of opportunity in student learning. In her capacity as an effective school leader, she allocated personal and human resources to support all students in attaining high levels of success. She is an asset to Waipahu High School and to public education.”
National Distinguished Principal awardees are selected based on a wide variety of criteria including leadership skills, student learning, school demographics, professional preparation and education, and recommendations from students, teachers, staff and Hawaii State Department of Education leaders.
HASSA is the local affiliate of the NASSP and was created in 1980 by 18 public and private school leaders. The organization has grown to now include more than 250 members from both public and private schools in the state.