Island Insurance Foundation Recognizes 13 Public School Principals Nominated for Excellence in School Leadership Award | Island Insurance

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Island Insurance Foundation Recognizes 13 Public School Principals Nominated for Excellence in School Leadership Award

The Island Insurance Foundation has recognized 13 outstanding public school principals nominated for its 11th Annual Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award in a presentation ceremony on Saturday, March 28th.

Island Insurance Foundation President Tyler Tokioka and Department of Education representatives presented commendations to the nominees in a ceremony at the Island Insurance Center. The Island Insurance Foundation presented each nominee with a $1,000 personal cash award and commemorative plaque.

The recipient of the annual award, named in honor of the late Masayuki Tokioka, founder of Island Insurance Company, Ltd., will be announced at the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation Dinner on Thursday, April 30, 2015.

The selected principal will receive a $10,000 personal cash award and an additional $15,000 for a school project of his or her choice. Two semifinalists will receive a $2,000 personal cash award. The award recipient is being selected by a committee composed of selected Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation Board members and professionals in the education field. This year’s awards program was open to all public school principals.

The 13 qualifying public school principals are:

Bruce Anderson, Maui High School

Dean Cevallos, Keaau High School

Frank Fernandes, Kaimuki Middle School

Shelley Ferrara, Mauka Lani Elementary School

Steve Franz, King Kamehameha III Elementary School

Debra Knight, Nanaikapono Elementary School

Stacie Kunihisa, Kanoelani Elementary School

Corey Nakamura, Wilcox Elementary School

Deborah Nekomoto, Kapunahala Elementary School

Dennis O’Brien, E.B. DeSilva Elementary School

James Sunday, Radford High School

Malaea Wetzel, Haleiwa Elementary School

Sean Wong, Ala Wai Elementary School

“My grandfather, Masayuki Tokioka, believed that education, integrity and hard work were the keys to success,” said Tyler Tokioka, Island Insurance Foundation President. “All that he achieved would not have been possible without the public school system that provided him with the foundation to pursue unlimited opportunities. This is why we are so honored to be able to recognize these principals who give so much to their schools and our community,” he added.

“In order to be a strong leader in today’s educational environment, public school principals must be dedicated, creative, community-minded, and have an entrepreneurial spirit -- all qualities my grandfather possessed. We hope that this award will showcase their leadership and inspire others in public education,” Tokioka added.

An immigrant from Japan, Island Insurance founder, Masayuki Tokioka moved to Hawaii at age 12 and graduated from McKinley High School in 1921. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Master of Business Administration degree in international commerce from Harvard University in 1927. His business career spanned 70 years, during which he founded several successful enterprises such as Island Insurance Company, Ltd., International Savings & Loan Association, Ltd. and National Mortgage & Finance Company, Ltd. Tokioka was also a driving force in establishing many community-focused entities such as the Hawaii Immigrant Preservation Center, Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation and the Japanese Cultural Centers in Hawaii and San Francisco.

The previous award recipient was Edward Oshiro of Ewa Makai Middle School. Oshiro plans to use his award to create a Parent/Family/Community center that would be the hub for training, work opportunities, volunteer work, and homework assistance. Partnering with local agencies and organizations, the award would fund a part-time teacher or community person to assist Oshiro in creating a plan that would: assess the needs of the parents and families; provide the services with cooperating agencies and organizations; implement and monitor the plan and evaluate the results as well as supplies and operating equipment.

Criteria for the award are based on research done by the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy at the University of Washington regarding the impact of school leadership on learning environments. The study concluded that school and district leaders can advance powerful and equitable learning by establishing a focus on learning, building professional communities that value learning, engaging external environments that contribute to learning, acting strategically and sharing leadership, and managing improvement activities based on student performance data.

The Island Insurance Foundation was established as the charitable arm of Island Insurance, Hawaii’s largest locally owned and managed P&C insurance carrier.

Island Insurance has been serving Hawaii’s families and businesses for 75 years and is the only Hawaii-Based company to be recognized as one of the Top 50 property & casualty insurance companies in the nation by the Ward Group for seven consecutive years. Island Insurance holds a financial strength rating of “A” (Excellent) from A.M. Best Company. For more information, visit its website at:

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