Nationally Recognized Principal Honored on Island of Hawaii

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Principal Joyce Iwashita and Gerald De Mello, Director of University Relations at University of Hawaii at Hilo; Photo courtesy: Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Elementary and Intermediate School

PĀPA‘IKOU, HAWAI‘I –  Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Elementary and Intermediate School students, school officials and dignitaries honored School Principal Joyce Iwashita in an assembly this morning held in the school’s auditorium.

The assembly was held days before Iwashita travels to Washington, D.C. where she will be honored by the National Distinguished Principals Program.  The ceremony is on October 21, 2011.  Iwashita is among other principals from across the nation who will be honored.


“Congratulations to Ms. Iwashita for this wonderful accomplishment and accolade.  She has played a critical role in shaping and improving Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Elementary and Intermediate School’s curriculum,” said Senator Malama Solomon, who represents Waimea, Hāmākua, North Hilo, Rural South Hilo and Hilo. “Ms. Iwashita has demonstrated her commitment to excellence in education and is very deserving of this recognition,” added Solomon.

In April, Iwashita was awarded Hawaii’s 2011 National Distinguished Principal. She was selected by committee through a process conducted by the Hawai‘i Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association (HEMSAA).  Iwashita was one of seven nominees for the award.

Under Iwashita’s leadership, Kalanianaole School showed dramatic improvements in its student performance as measured by the Hawai‘i State Assessment. From 2004 to 2011, the percentage of students testing proficient in reading rose from 38 percent to 67 percent. In math, it rose from 9 percent to 67 percent.

Iwashita is noted for her having the tenacity to make difficult decisions and for having the leadership skills to work collaboratively with her staff.

Established in 1984, the National Distinguished Principals Program honors exemplary elementary and middle school principals who set the pace, character, and quality of the education children receive in their early school years. The National Distinguished Principals program is sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education.

Submitted by Caroline Julian for the state Senate. 






  1. Congratulations!

    Mrs. Iwashita was my science teacher in 6th grade waaaay back in the 90s…she was a BITCH.

    Best of luck in the future!!

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