On May 20, 2009, I went to Waikele Elementary School and surprised Principal Carmielita Minami becoming the Hawaii’s 2009 Distinguished Principal. She was announced as Hawaii’s 2009 National Distinguished Principal at an awards luncheon held on May 3, 2009.
Minami was nominated by Pearl City/Waipahu Complex Area Superintendent Keith Hayashi and selected for this prestigious award by a committee of fellow principals and business community representatives through a process conducted by the Hawaii Elementary and Middle School Administrators’ Association.
A veteran educator, Minami has devoted 38 years to Hawaii’s public school system. Her leadership has been instrumental in bringing transformational change to Waikele Elementary where she has served as principal since 2004.
“Research results prove what school communities know from experience that successful schools depend on dedicated instructional leaders,” said Vincent Ferrandino, former executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. “This honor represents our deep appreciation to a few of those who are committed to the academic, social, and emotional development of school children both in our nation and overseas.”
Joining Minami at the celebration were nominees: Carol Petersen, Mililani Mauka Elementary (Central); Lehua Veincent, Keaukaha Elementary (Hawaii); Cindy Giorgis, Hahaione Elementary (Honolulu); Fred Rose, Kilauea Elementary (Kauai); Susan Alivado, Paia Elementary (Maui); and Joyce Bellino, Kapunahala Elementary (Windward).
This fall, she will travel to Washington, D.C., to be honored along with other principals from across the nation during two days of activities and recognition events.
The National Distinguished Principals Program is sponsored by the NAESP in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and in corporate partnership with AIG VALIC.