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Maui Principals named as finalist in $25,000 School Leadership Award | Business

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Maui Principals named as finalist in $25,000 School Leadership Award
Business, People, Schools

Principals Fern Markgraf of Kahului Elementary in Kahului and Marsha Nakamura of Lahaina Intermediate in Lahaina were named finalists in the 2012 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Awards.  One Hawaii public school principal will receive $25,000 (a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 towards a school project of his or her choice). The recipient of this year’s award will be announced at the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation dinner on April 13, 2012 in Honolulu.

The award, which is named after Island Insurance founder Masayuki Tokioka is underwritten by the Island Insurance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Island Insurance Companies.  11 public school principals from across the state are finalists for the award which recognizes outstanding school principals across the state and their efforts to provide high-quality learning opportunities for their students.

Markgraf has been principal at Kahului Elementary for eight years. The school faces many challenges including poverty and nearly 30% of students being English Language Learners (ELL). As a result, Markgraf helped implement LUMI KELA, Kahului English Learners Achieving.  At the center, ELL students receive tutoring before and after school.  Markgraf reports 52% of ELL students are now meeting proficiency standards in reading and math, compared to 25% in 2003.

“Principal Markgraf is an extremely dedicated professional educator.  She leads by example and is not afraid to defend her position,” said Leslie T. Takahashi, Student Services Coordinator at Kahului Elementary. “I can honestly say that I enjoy my job because I know she will always be there to help and listen.”

Marsha Nakamura has been an educator at Lahaina Intermediate for 26 years, most recently as principal for the past 10 years and prior to that, as an art teacher then as vice principal of Lahaina Intermediate. Nakamura faced two challenges as Principal: school accreditation and a divided teaching staff.  Her leadership style of functioning as collaboratively and as democratically as possible has resulted in increased HSA scores and a high percentage of tutored students meeting proficiency Reading and Math.  In addition, the school also received a 6-year accreditation term in 2011.  

“We have worked tirelessly for the last six years to place our focus on improving student achievement. Everything we do is with that in mind,” said Anthony Griffin, 8th Grade Science Teacher at Lahaina Intermediate. “All of this was possible because of her dedication to improving our school. She has been there every step of the way, providing direction and guidance, while allowing us to take ownership of and responsibility for the school’s development.”

The Island Insurance Foundation was established as the charitable arm of Island Insurance, the only locally-owned property and casualty insurance carrier to have a charitable entity solely dedicated to supporting the non-profit community.  Island Insurance is Hawaii’s largest locally owned and managed P&C insurance carrier with financial strength ratings of “A” by A.M. Best and Fitch Ratings and is the only Hawaii-Based company to be recognized as one of the Top 50 property & casualty insurance companies in the nation by the Ward Group for four consecutive years.  For more information, visit its website at: www.islandinsurance.com.

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