Aiea Intermediate School Principal Tom Kurashige got $25,000 and serious bragging rights Friday nightas this year’s recipient of the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award.
“Principal Kurashige exemplifies the type of leadership that can transform our public schools into model learning institutions,” Tyler Tokioka, Island Insurance Foundation president, said in a news release. “
Kurashige got a $10,000 cash award and $15,000 to spend on a school project.
He said he will use the award money to enlarge Aiea Intermediate’s aquaponics system and use it for hands-on learning projects.
A $2,000 cash award was presented to each of two semifinalists: Dale Castro, principal of Mililani Waena Elementary School, and Ann Mahi, principal of Roosevelt High.
Eleven educators were nominated for the award, which recognizes public school principals who are visionary, community-minded and have an entrepreneurial spirit.
The award, established in 2004, is named in honor of the late Masayuki Tokioka, founder of Island Insurance Co.
Kurashige, who has been principal of Aiea Intermediate for 11 years, received the award Friday night at the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation dinner in Waikiki.
Kurashige is credited with boosting student performance at Aiea Intermediate and fostering innovative science, technology and language arts programs. Last school year, 84 percent of Aiea Intermediate students tested proficient in reading and 61 percent met learning goals in math.
“We have created and fostered a culture at this school that believes in accountability,” Kurashige said. “Through their commitment and caring, teachers have become significant adults for our students.”
In nominating papers for the principal’s award, teachers praised Kurashige for his drive to always improve his school — and himself.
“As the leader of the school, he models a constant need to change and stay ahead of the game,” said Rory Ikeda, curriculum coordinator at Aiea Intermediate.