Washington Middle leader honored as 2017 National Distinguished Principal


The Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators (HASSA) named Principal Michael Harano from Washington Middle School the 2017 National Distinguished Principal. He was honored at a luncheon today, which also kicked off National Principals Month.

​​​​​​​​The Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators (HASSA) named Principal Michael Harano from Washington Middle School the 2017 National Distinguished Principal. Harano was recognized today during a luncheon at the Hale Koa Hotel and recently joined the other 49 state awardees in Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) National Principal of the Year Institute where each state awardee was recognized for their outstanding accomplishments.

"Over the years, the role of our Principals has grown from running their schools to also serving as community leaders as they navigate their students and staff through issues that extend far beyond the school boundaries," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "Principal Harano has done an excellent job managing both, and his strong leadership has resulted in the continued success of the students at Washington Middle."

Harano has been the Principal at Washington Middle for 15 years, and has been a school administrator for 29 years. He also received the Hawaii Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association (HEMSAA) National Distinguished Principal award in 2010 and was a nominee in 2009 for the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership award.

"It is an honor to be recognized and selected from such an outstanding group of Principals," said Harano. "My philosophy of a kinder and gentler learning environment, as well as the belief that our school needs to be structured around the needs of our tenants – the students – has resulted in the continuous improvement of our school's student achievement. This kind of positive growth couldn't have been done without the support and hard work of the Washington Middle staff and school community."

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 HIDOE leaders.

"Principal Harano understands the challenges that are unique to middle school students – and he embraces them! His approach to ensuring that the needs of his students are met while also providing additional supports and activities has earned him respect by his staff and students. This recognition is well deserved and we look forward to his continued impact on education," added Matayoshi.

The luncheon also kicked off National Principals Month. NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) have designated October as National Principals Month to help spotlight the hard work and dedication of these school 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 of Hawaii. 

In 2016, NASSP celebrated 100 years since its establishment by a small group of school principals. The vision of the organization is "Great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student." For more information, visit http://www.nassp.org/.

Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

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