Maui News

Puʻu Kukui Elementary, Hāna High principals honored as among top in state

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Christopher Sanita, Hāna High and Elementary (left); and Chad Okamoto, Pu‘u Kukui Elementary (right). PC: Island Insurance Foundation
Back row, far left: Hawai‘i DOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi, next to Deputy Superintendent Heidi Armstrong Back row, far right: Island Insurance Foundation Chairman Tyler Tokioka. PC: Island Insurance Foundation

Hāna High and Elementary principal, Christopher Sanita, and Pu‘u Kukui Elementary principal, Chad Okamoto, were among 15 top public school principals recognized by Island Insurance Foundation as nominees for the 17th Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award.

Each of the 15 nominees – who lead public elementary and secondary schools in all four counties – received a $1,000 cash award during a recognition ceremony held Saturday at the Island Insurance Center in Downtown Honolulu.

The 2023 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award recipient and two semi-finalists will be announced at the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation annual dinner on Thursday, April 20. 


The top principal will receive $25,000: a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 toward a school project of the principal’s choice. Two semi-finalists will each receive a $2,000 cash award.

The DOE principal-nominees for 2023 are: 

  • Sharon Beck, Ka‘ū High & Pahala Elementary
  • U‘ilani Kaitoku, Hau‘ula Elementary
  • Suzie Lee, Mā‘ili Elementary
  • Nathan Maeda, Maunawili Elementary
  • Leila Maeda-Kobayashi, Kōloa Elementary
  • Amy Martinson, Highlands Intermediate
  • Komarey Moss, Red Hill Elementary
  • Jason Nakamoto, Leilehua High
  • Chad Okamoto, Pu‘u Kukui Elementary
  • Jacqueline Ornellas, Lincoln Elementary
  • Christopher Sanita, Hāna High and Elementary
  • Wesley Shinkawa, Kapolei High
  • Lisa Souza, Waiākea Intermediate
  • Kori Takaki, Kahakai Elementary
  • Jason Yoshimoto, Kamilo‘iki Elementary

Hawai‘i DOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi, Island Insurance Foundation Chairman Tyler Tokioka, Senator Carol Fukunaga, Honolulu City Councilmember Val Okimoto and a wide array of statewide Department of Education officials attended to celebrate the recognition event. 


The award honors the late Masayuki Tokioka, founder of Island Insurance Company, Ltd. and a proud graduate of Hawai‘i public schools. It was established in 2004 and is underwritten by the Island Insurance Foundation.


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