Island Insurance Foundation Recognizes 12 Public School Principals Nominated for Excellence in School Leadership Award | Island Insurance

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Island Insurance Foundation Recognizes 12 Public School Principals Nominated for Excellence in School Leadership Award

The Island Insurance Foundation has recognized 12 outstanding public school principals nominated for its 12th Annual Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award in a presentation ceremony on Saturday, April 2nd.

Island Insurance Foundation President Tyler Tokioka and Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi 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 a 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 21, 2016.

The selected principal will receive $25,000 (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 12 qualifying public school principals are:

• Mahina Anguay, Waimea High School, Kauai

• Chris Bachaus, Kula Elementary School, Maui

• Jamie Dela Cruz, Kaelepulu Elementary School, Oahu

• Steve Franz, King Kamehameha III Elementary School, Maui

• Christine Kinau Gardner, Kahala Elementary School, Oahu

• Alison Higa, Fort Shafter Elementary School, Oahu

• Jan Iwase, Hale Kula Elementary School, Oahu

• Bruce Naguwa, Kapolei Middle School, Oahu

• Michael Nakasato, Pearl City Highlands Elementary School, Oahu

• Michelle Payne-Arakaki, Pahoa Elementary School, Big Island

• Alma Souki, Heeia Elementary School, Oahu

• Lenn Uyeda, Maemae Elementary School, Oahu

“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 Dean Cevallos of Keaau High School on the island of Hawaii. To ensure that all students receive the necessary support as well as to ease the financial burden to parents, Cevallos allocated funds to provide everything from transportation, school supplies, breakfast and lunch to after school activities, tutoring and study halls. In addition, new students are now enrolled in a 9th grade college prep class, a senior school level counselor was hired (to assist students in accessing the FAFSA and scholarships), and parent/student nights are held to help parents through the financial aid and college application processes.

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. Founded in downtown Honolulu, Island Insurance has been serving Hawaii’s families and businesses for over 75 years and is the only Hawaii-based company to be recognized as a Top 50 property & casualty insurer in the nation by the Ward Group for eight 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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