Kahaluu’s DeCosta Top State Worker
While “SASA” may be a mystery term to some, every public school knows who its school administrative services assistant is — she’s the one who is everywhere doing everything. That’s also the case with Kahaluu Elementary School SASA Monica DeCosta, who was just named 2014 Hawaii State Employee of the Year.
The Kaneohe grandmother and veteran of two decades with the DOE is known for her “attention to detail, effortless grace under pressure, and timely and accurate reports of various fiscal accounts,” according to the department’s website. But she also keeps track of every student who is late or absent, calling each parent to remind them of how critical their child’s presence is at school. As a result of DeCosta’s diligence and that of the rest of the Kahaluu ohana, the small rural school cut its chronic absentee rate from 29 percent in 2012-13 to 8 percent in 2013-14.
She also secured about $25,000 that helped save the KES Hawaiian studies program.
“Many of our public employees consistently work to improve the efficiency and quality of government services,” stated Gov. Neil Abercrombie at the Oct. 3 ceremony. “We are honored to work with such dedicated individuals and appreciate all they do each and every day.”
The Governor’s Awards go to the top employee, manager and work team “exemplifying the highest calibre of public service and dedication” from among 51 workers nominated by executive branch departments.
DeCosta also won the state DOE’s top employee award in September, nominated by her principal, Naomi Matsuzaki.
DeCosta is known as the “go-to” person whom everyone counts on, respects and admires — despite the fact that she’s also the secretary, registrar, staff trainer, health aide, student record keeper and disciplinarian.
The Windward side boasts five DOE Employees of the Year in the past six years, four of them from the Kahaluu school.
The awards program is administered by the state Department of Human Resources Development.