The award, presented at the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation Dinner held April 11 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, is named in honor of the late Masayuki Tokioka, founder of Island Insurance Company, Ltd. The honor is given to a public school principal who is visionary, community-minded, and has an entrepreneurial spirit — qualities of leadership that Tokioka exemplified in his own company and in the business community.
"Principal Hayashi exemplifies the type of leadership that can transform our public schools into model learning institutions," said Island Insurance Foundation President Tyler Tokioka. "By recognizing outstanding principals such as Keith, it is our hope that his accomplishments will inspire others in public education."
Hayashi received $15,000 for a school project of his choice and an additional $10,000 cash award. The Island Insurance Foundation also presented a $2,000 cash award to the top two semi-finalists, Principal Chad Farias of Keaau Elementary in Hilo, Hawaii, and Principal Richard Stevens of Kilohana Elementary School in Kaunakakai, Molokai.
Twelve candidates were nominated for the award. They each received $1,000 and a commemorative plaque, which were presented to them at a March 23 recognition ceremony.
The other nine nominees are:
- Ryan Amine, Maunawili Elementary School (Kailua, Oahu)
Elden Esmeralda, Kapolei High School (Kapolei, Oahu)
Naomi Matsuzaki, Kahaluu Elementary School (Kaneohe, Oahu)
Corey Nakamura, Hanalei Elementary School (Hanalei, Kauai)
Chad Okamoto, Puu Kukui Elementary School (Wailuku, Maui)
Mona Smoot, Red Hill Elementary School (Honolulu, Oahu)
Ann Sugibayashi, Royal Elementary School (Honolulu, Oahu)
Wendy Takahashi, Nanakuli Elementary School (Waianae, Oahu)
Tiare Uli'i, Fern Elementary School (Honolulu, Oahu)
An educator for over 16 years, Keith Hayashi has been principal of Waipahu High for four years. Hayashi has developed several innovative programs with one area of focus being on achieving students' career and college goals. The school's Career Pathways program allows students to collaborate with industry and business partners to give students guidance and experience in all six career pathways including: Engineering, Finance, Information Technology and Hospitality and Tourism. Each career pathway is recognized by the National Academy Foundation and has received recognition at national competitions.
College Readiness Academy Success Hawaii (CRASH) is another unique program developed by Hayashi to help students and their parents obtain financing for secondary education. The CRASH program includes "Applying for College Night" where college application fees were waived for one night by colleges across the state. The "Applying for Financial Aid" night also allowed students and parents to learn more about the Free Application for the Federal Student Aid process (FAFSA). As a result of student successes, the graduating class of 2012 amassed over $10.3 million in merit-based scholarships.
"Principal Hayashi has demonstrated leadership by focusing on student learning and rethinking traditional classrooms and classroom experiences," said Brian Birdsall of the Waipahu High School Community Council. "The opportunities he created through partnerships and purchases have engaged students and built competency in their chosen career fields. Many of the lessons and projects that students participate in at Waipahu High School put the students ahead of their peers for college and career readiness and understanding of industry level standards needed to succeed in a skilled labor market."
Hayashi plans to use the award toward the creation of an aquaponics system that would give students the opportunity to integrate their knowledge in resource management, engineering, technology and business. By working directly with this self-sustaining ecosystem, students will gain valuable hands-on learning opportunities while ultimately providing fresh herbs and vegetables for sale to the community. Proceeds from the sales will go toward sustaining the program.
An immigrant from Japan, Masayuki Tokioka moved to Hawaii at age 12 and graduated from McKinley High School in 1921. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Master of Business Administration degree in international commerce from Harvard University in 1927. His business career spanned 70 years, during which he founded several successful enterprises such as the Island Insurance Companies, International Savings & Loan Association, Ltd. and National Mortgage & Finance Company, Ltd. He was also a driving force in establishing many community-focused entities such as the Hawaii Immigrant Preservation Center, Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation and the Japanese Cultural Centers in Hawaii and San Francisco.