The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) this week announced Waikele Elementary’s Stacy Kawamura as a 2022 National Outstanding Assistant Principal. Each year NAESP recognizes a select cohort of assistant principals from across the country. This year 22 assistant principals nationwide were recognized — 17 from elementary schools and five from the middle school level.
The NAESP National Outstanding Assistant Principal Program aims to promote excellence in educational leadership and calls attention to the fundamental importance of the assistant principal. Honorees are recognized for demonstrating exceptional leadership and for setting high standards for students, colleagues, parents and the community.
“As a former principal, I know how vital assistant principals are to a successful and thriving school community,” interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stacy through Waipahu Complex collaborations and have seen first-hand how she supports her staff and prioritizes the needs of all students. She is passionate in supporting her school community and is truly dedicated to enriching the lives of others. We are very proud to have leaders like Stacy Kawamura serving within our Hawaiʻi public schools.”
As vice principal of Waikele Elementary for the past seven years, one of Kawamura’s most significant accomplishments has been helping to develop the school’s nationally distinct academy pathway program. Initially an arts academy program, the school expanded the program to include age-appropriate Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses that align with the Waipahu Complex’s commitment to college and career readiness. Kawamura helped articulate to teachers the shift in focus by making connections with other high school academy programs. Through Waikele Elementary’s academy pathway program — the first of its kind in the nation — students are now exposed to a variety of career opportunities, making their transition to complex area secondary schools more seamless.
Kawamura has also helped develop community partnerships with the school, which provide opportunities for students to engage with their community and apply classroom lessons to the real world. She is also credited with establishing a professional growth and learning framework that has helped her school build a collaborative culture that engages faculty and staff.
Waikele Elementary School Principal Sheldon Oshio praises Kawamura’s ability as a leader to collaborate with colleagues and cultivate a positive learning culture. “Her enthusiasm, rapport and care for everyone is evident,” Principal Oshio said. “Mrs. Kawamura develops great relationships with families and students, and communicates effectively. Above all, Mrs. Kawamura is a true learning leader who leads by example. Her leadership is appreciated and respected within the school community.”
Kawamura earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from the Washington University in St. Louis, a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix, and a second master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Prior to her vice principal role at Waikele Elementary, she served as a teacher at Pearl City High and Kapolei High.
Kawamura will be invited to Kentucky this July to receive her award at the annual NAESP Pre-K-8 National Principals Conference.
This recognition was made possible by members of the Hawaiʻi Elementary and Middle Schools Administrators Association, the local affiliate of NAESP. It comes as part of National Assistant Principals Week (April 4-8, 2022), which is celebrated every April to recognize the significant role assistant principals play in the overall academic achievement of students nationwide.