Principal Fred Murphy of Mililani High School and Vice Principal Meryl Matsumura of Waipahu High were honored as top school leaders at a luncheon Sunday marking National Principals Month.
Murphy, who has led his alma mater for seven years, is known for expanding opportunities for students. Mililani High offers a huge menu of options, with 24 Advanced Placement courses and 27 career and technical education programs, along with 52 student clubs and 47 athletic teams.
The Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators chose Murphy as the state’s National Distinguished Principal of the Year and Matsumura as Vice Principal of the Year. As part of the award, Murphy recently traveled to Washington D.C. along with other state awardees and took part in the National Principal of the Year Institute.
“Principal Murphy is a visionary leader to both Mililani High as well as the broader school community,” said Complex Area Superintendent Robert Davis. “In addition to encouraging parent and community involvement in various school initiatives, he regularly leads meetings with community partners, helping to address issues and advocate for new initiatives to benefit the Mililani community.”
The school has a strong social-emotional learning program for students and staff. Murphy also promoted the use of locally grown food in the Mililani school cafeteria and its two satellite elementary cafeteria sites, giving students fresher meals and encouraging local food production.
Matsumura, an assistant principal at Waipahu High for 14 years, heads its Academy of Natural Resources, which focuses on environmental stewardship. The academy was recognized as the first nationally certified academy of its kind in the nation by the National Career Academy Coalition.
“Central to all of Meryl’s efforts is equity of opportunity in student learning,” said Keith Hayashi, Waipahu principal. “She is an asset to Waipahu High School and to public education.”
Awardees are chosen on criteria including leadership skills, student performance, professional preparation and recommendations from peers, teachers and students.