Three Hawaii public school leaders win national award


HONOLULU – Kaiser High Principal John Sosa, King Intermediate Principal Sheena Alaiasa and Kaimuki Middle Vice Principal CeliaAnn Main-Anakalea have been selected as Hawaii’s top school leaders by the Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators.


'A leader, we all know, cannot do it alone'​​

The three administrators were named Hawaii’s National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) of the Year during an awards banquet at the Hale Koa hotel.

The national program recognizes outstanding secondary school leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students, as well as exemplary contributions to their profession.

Winners are selected based on excellence in the areas of professional growth, collaborative leadership, advancements in curriculum, instruction and assessment, and personalization of learning.

John Sosa, principal, Kaiser High
Sosa has led an impressive transformation of the 1,100-plus student Kaiser High campus since arriving in 2008. In 2010, Kaiser High earned the rigorous and prestigious designation of an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) school.

Enrollment in the IB program and Advanced Placement courses has been growing in recent years, while reading and math scores have been steadily rising.

In 2008-09, 78 percent of students were reading at grade level, and 49 percent were proficient in math. By the 2011-12 school year, proficiency had reached 86 percent in reading and 56 percent in math.

“A leader, we all know, cannot do it alone,” Sosa wrote in his application. “In fact, it is the faculty and staff working with parents and community that move a school towards that goal.”

Sheena Alaiasa, principal, King Intermediate
Principal Alaiasa, her staff and some 600 students recently celebrated the schools exit from restructuring – the harshest sanction under the No Child Left Behind law – thanks to a commitment to data analysis and research-based strategies to improve instruction.

The Hawaii State Department of Education recognized King Intermediate’s extraordinary achievement with a $100,000 Strive HI Award. Prior to becoming principal at King, Alaiasa served as vice principal and principal at Heeia Elementary before taking the post at King.

“The award really belongs to the school,” said Alaiasa, the school’s principal since 2008. “I think it’s an honor that they chose me and I’m humbled by it.”

Celia Main-Anakalea, vice principal, Kaimuki Middle
Main-Anakalea becomes the second administrator from Kaimuki Middle in consecutive years to be named an educational leader by NASSP. Last year, Principal Frank Fernandes was recognized as Hawaii’s Middle School Principal of the Year. She has been with the school for seven years, and has worked in Hawaii’s educational system for 20.

“Nothing could ever be done without a great leader principal, a diverse and respected leadership team, and countless supports that my faculty, staff, families and community provide to all of our students,” said Main-Anakalea.

“NASSP is proud to recognize secondary principals exhibiting outstanding leadership,” stated NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “The principals who receive this honor are the best from across the country, each providing a high-quality learning environment that reflects high expectations for students and staff.”

Six finalists for the 2014 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year award will be announced in July, and two winners (one middle level and one high school) will be named in September.

NASSP will honor all state principals of the year at an institute in Washington, D.C., from September 18-21, 2013. The event serves as a forum for principals to share best practices and meet with national education leaders and lawmakers.

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232


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