Veteran Windward Leaders Accept New Principal Positions

The Windward School District has gained two skilled administrators, following the elevation of Derek Minakami and Kathy Kahikina to principalships at Kaneohe Elementary and Ben Parker Elementary, respectively.

Lea Albert, superintendent of the district’s Castle/Kahuku Complex, appointed them last month, and they reported to work immediately.

Derek Minakami

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Kaneohe Elementary principal Derek Minakami

Minakami was Hawaii’s 2001 Teacher of the Year and among the top four finalists for the national honor that year. He taught physics at Kailua High School at the time, and also was the state’s first public schoolteacher to be nationally certified.

“One of my top goals is to establish a forum for bringing families, faculty and staff together to build upon Kaneohe Elementary’s track record of academic excellence,” Minakami said.

Ben Parker welcomed Kahikina back to the fold, as she previously served as its temporary principal, as well as vice principal at Castle High and Kaneohe Elementary.

Kahikina has a master’s degree in school counseling and is a former president of the Hawaii School Counselor Association.

“Her strong counseling background and experience as an educational officer will be tremendous advantages in engaging parents, families and teachers,” said Albert.