Area Principals Recognized For Excellence In Leadership

Officials and nominees for the Excellence in School Leadership Award are (front, from left) Elden Esmeralda, Mona Smoot, Keith Hayashi, Wendy Takahashi, Naomi Matsuzaki, Ann Sugibayashi, (back) DOE deputy superintendent Ronn Nozoe, Island Insurance chairman and CEO Colbert Matsumoto, Ryan Amine, Chad Okamoto, Corey Nakamura, Tiare Uli'i, Richard Stevens, Chad Farias and Island Insurance Foundation president Tyler Tokioka. Photo from Island Insurance Foundation.

Twelve public school principals were nominated for the ninth annual Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award, including three West Oahu educators: Elden Esmeralda of Kapolei High School, Keith Hayashi of Waipahu High School and Wendy Takahashi of Nanakuli High School.

Other nominees include Mona Smoot of Red Hill Elementary School, Naomi Matsuzaki of Kahaluu Elementary School, Ann Sugibayashi of Royal Elementary School, Ryan Amine of Maunawili Elementary School, Chad Okamoto of Puu Kukui Elementary School, Corey Nakamura of Hanalei Elementary School, Tiare Uli’i of Fern Elementary School, Richard Stevens of Kilohana Elementary School and Chad Farias of Keaau Elementary School.

On March 23, Island Insurance Foundation president Tyler Tokioka and state Department of Education deputy superintendent Ronn Nozoe recognized each nominee, who received a $1,000 personal cash award and a commemorative plaque.

The winning educator will be announced April 11 at the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation Dinner and will receive $25,000 – $10,000 as a personal cash award and $15,000 to be used toward a school project. Two semifinalists will receive a $2,000 personal cash award.

According to Island Insurance Foundation, the award recipient is being selected by a committee of selected Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation board members and professionals in the education field.

For more information on the foundation, visit