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Award-winning leader is named Castle High principal

By Leila Fujimori

LAST UPDATED: 7:54 p.m. HST, Apr 25, 2014

Though she's just been selected as Castle High School's new principal, Sheena Alaiasa already knows her students well.

The award-winning leader has served nearly all of Castle's 1,551 students as their elementary vice principal, intermediate school principal and high school acting principal.

"She pulled King (Intermediate) out of restructuring --the severest sanction under No Child Left Behind -- in three years," said Lea Albert, Complex Area Superintendent for Castle and Kahuku complexes, adding that King was one of only seven Hawaii schools to do so.

For that feat, Alaiasa became the first principal in Hawaii history to win the National Association of Secondary School Principals' "National Middle Level Principal of the Year" title earlier this school year, beating out principals from every state, District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education schools.

"I believe she will turn Castle into a high-performing school in short order," she said, noting Castle's major focus is increasing its graduation rate.

The Department of Education announced Friday the appointment of Alaiasa, who has been acting principal since January after Darrel Galera, who was briefly acting principal, retired. Meredith Maeda was Castle's last principal.

Alaiasa also taught at Kahaluu Elementary School and was vice principal at Heeia and Kailua elementary schools.

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