Ilima Intermediate Welcomes Back Bonilla — As Its Principal

Ilima Intermediate principal Christopher Bonilla.

Ilima Intermediate principal Christopher Bonilla.

Ilima Intermediate School welcomed its newest principal, Christopher Bonilla, with a meet-and-greet night March 12 in the school’s cafeteria.

Bonilla has 13 years of experience in the state Department of Education, and actually started his career right there at Ilima Intermediate as an educational assistant, school counselor and summer school teacher.

And the Ewa Beach resident has big plans for the school.

“Ilima Intermediate School has many great things to be proud of,” he said. “The hardworking faculty and staff continue to live and breathe the school mission of teamwork and perseverance. Our school vision entails helping students strive for the summit, which focuses on college and career readiness.”

Prior to his appointment as Ilima’s principal, Bonilla was vice principal at Kapolei Middle School (2011-2013), student services coordinator for Campbell High and school renewal specialist for the Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area.

While his involvement with West Oahu’s education system is extensive, Bonilla originally planned to enter law school. His undergraduate work at University of Hawaii widened his interest in the field of education.

“I knew in my heart that I wanted to advocate for students,” he said.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in political science, he went on to earn his master’s in education, school counseling and guidance from UH.

“In fact, I am excited to return home to the school where I started as an educational assistant and completed my counseling internship,” he said.

Bonilla considers himself a community stakeholder, “… which is one of the major reasons I decided to apply as principal of Ilima Intermediate School,” he added. “Our students are first and foremost the focal point of everything we do, and as such I believe that

we also should shine a spotlight on all the great things they have accomplished.”

He believes that Ilima Intermediate plays a vital role in building the foundation necessary for students as they make the transition to high school.

“The foundation will include plans to ensure that our current programs and systems of support enhance all students’ healthy growth as lifelong learners, ethical and democratic citizens,” he explained. “In partnership with our parents and community, it is important that plans also include ways to have focused conversations about preparing students to succeed in an ever-changing society.”