Richard Stevens, principal at Kilohana Elementary School, became the third Molokai principal honored by the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award.
Stevens was named a semifinalist at the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation Dinner held Thursday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom on Oahu, said a news release from Island Insurance Foundation, the charitable arm of Island Insurance, which presented the award. Stevens received $3,000 for the honor.
This is the ninth annual version of the leadership award. In 2010, Kaunakakai Elementary School Principal Janice Espiritu was named the overall winner of the award, earning $25,000 that was split between herself and the school. In 2011, Maunaloa Elementary School Principal Joe Yamamoto was named one of the 11 finalists for the award.
The award, named in honor of the late Masayuki Tokioka, founder of Island Insurance Co., 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, the news release said.
An educator for more than 30 years, Stevens has focused on creating an individualized approach for each student during his four-year tenure at the East End school, the news release said. Factors such as behavior, social interactions and relationships are examples of the many considerations analyzed when developing individual action plans for each student. This is done in collaboration with teachers, student services coordinators and resource personnel.
“Mr. Stevens establishes a focus on learning through newsletters (sent) home in keeping parents abreast of school events and how they can be an active partner in their child’s education,” said Espiritu.
Espiritu said that Stevens’ school has logged double-digit gains in reading and math on the Hawaii State Assessment, and that Kilohana school continues to be a school in “good standing unconditional” — the highest ranking for schools in the state’s No Child Left Behind assessments.
Twelve candidates were nominated for the award. Principal Keith Hayashi of Waipahu High School on Oahu was named the top award winner and the recipient of the $25,000. Stevens and Principal Chad Farias of Keaau Elementary in Hilo were named semifinalists.