Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, April 26


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week features the national recognition of our public school students and school leaders praised for the impactful work they do.

April 26

Editorial Mission: As the Department's primary publication, we aim to live up to the meaning of ha‘aheo – to cherish with pride – by bolstering and sustaining pride in public education and touting the successes happening across our system.

It's always validating to see our public school students recognized for their outstanding achievements on a national scale, and to see our school leaders praised for the impactful work they do on behalf of their students and communities.

The U.S. Department of Education recently named five HIDOE student semifinalists representing the state of Hawai‘i for the prestigious U.S. Presidential Scholars Program — one of the nation's highest honors for high school students!

Congratulations to the following students and their schools and families:

  • Rovialyn Arciaga, Waipahu High
  • Audrey Dagdagan, Waipahu High
  • Sean Michael Valencia Monte, Waipahu High
  • Vaeanui Peck, Kahuku High & Intermediate
  • Rachel Tao, Waiākea High
The Presidential Scholars program recognizes and honors some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Last year, Kealakehe High School senior Kea Clebsch was named a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Kea was one of six Hawai‘i semifinalists last year and the only semifinalist enrolled in a Hawai‘i public school.

Locally, distinguished school leaders were honored at two awards events. At the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation annual dinner on Thursday Ka‘ū High & Pāhala Elementary Principal Sharon Beck was named the winner of the 2023 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award. She was awarded $25,000 – a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 toward a school project of her choice. Principal Beck plans to use the school award money for wireless devices that would provide students with access to learning in remote areas that may not have wifi access on Hawai‘i Island. Two semi-finalists were also recognized — Kapolei High Principal Wesley Shinkawa and Kōloa Elementary Principal Leila Maeda-Kobayashi – along with finalists representing each of the 15 complex areas.

And on Sunday Fern Elementary School Principal Glen Miyasato was named the state’s 2023 National Distinguished Principal by the Hawai‘i Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association. This National Association of Elementary School Principals award annually recognizes elementary and middle school principals from across the country who set high standards for instruction, student achievement and school culture. Also recognized was Kawānanakoa Middle School Vice Principal Bebi Davis, who was named the 2023 Assistant Principal of the Year by the Hawai‘i Association of Secondary School Administrators from among six finalists. She was also one of three national finalists for the 2023 National Assistant Principal of the Year.

Taking time to celebrate dedicated school leaders like these helps honor their leadership and the work of their school teams. I extend my deepest appreciation and congratulations to all of the honorees.


Proud alumni were recently inducted into the Kaimukī High School Hall of Honor. We asked Superintendent Keith Hayashi, award-winning designer Owen Ho, and breakdancer Jack Rabanal to tell us who were some of their mentors when they were students at Kaimukī High.

Student Spotlight

As we start to close out this school year, this section is dedicated to highlighting outstanding student achievements and accomplishments.

» Pearl City Charger Hannah Marie Tokiwa was named 2023 Military Child of the Year for Marine Corps by Operation Homefront.

» Waiākea High’s STEM team won big in the annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition.

» An essay by Kaua‘i High student Tyler Everett was featured in The Standard, the blog for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Family Focus

The Hawai‘i State Department of Education and the Department of Health would like to remind parents statewide about the Vax to School campaign which includes a reminder about the physical exam and immunization requirements for students entering seventh grade.

Students cannot begin seventh grade without an up-to-date immunization record. A physical exam is also required within 12 months before starting seventh grade.

By the first day of seventh grade, all students must provide documentation of having received the following vaccinations:

  • Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis)
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • MCV (meningococcal conjugate)

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

  • May 1 - May Day

Community Query

We asked on Twitter and Instagram...

May 1st is Lei Day! What’s your favorite part of May Day celebrations?

HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» Kailua High School students are organizing what they hope will be the largest blood drive put on by Hawai‘i high school students on May 4. Learn more and how you can get involved and sign up to donate. 

» Jefferson Elementary students released grown ʻamaʻama to help clean the ecosystem near the Waikīkī Natatorium War Memorial in honor of Earth Day. 

» Baldwin High and Highlands Intermediate took the top prizes at the 20th Annual ʻŌlelo Youth Exchange Video Competition Awards Gala.


Keith Hayashi


Heidi Armstrong

Deputy Superintendent

Curt Otaguro

Deputy Superintendent

Tammi Oyadomari-Chun
Deputy Superintendent


Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Annie Kalama
Student Support Services
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations

Christine Shaw

Information Technology Services

Cara Tanimura

Strategy, Innovation and Performance

Teri Ushijima

Curriculum and Instructional Design



Nanea Kalani

Executive Editor

Chanel Honda

Managing Editor

Sara Miyazono
Creative Director

Derek Inoshita

Contributing Writer

Krislyn Yano

Contributing Writer



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