April 28, 2013

Aiea Elementary’s Dean Kaneshiro recognized
as Hawaii’s 2013 NAESP Outstanding Assistant Principal

HONOLULU - When Dean Kaneshiro joined Aiea Elementary three years ago, the vice principal knew he had to act to raise math achievement. He pored through data, researched best practices and decided a new approach to the curriculum was in order.

“A few teachers took the lead and agreed to pilot Singapore Math and then share experiences with the rest of the staff,” he recalled. The following school year, the strategy was adopted by the entire campus.

But Kaneshiro didn’t just wait for the results to show. He taught a sixth-grade summer math class, and met with teachers to analyze student work, create assessments and set goals.

Kaneshiro, whose school’s math scores have increased for three consecutive years, was honored today as Hawaii’s National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Outstanding Assistant Principal. The Hawaii Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association celebrated Kaneshiro’s accomplishments at an awards luncheon held at the Hale Koa Hotel.

The honor promotes educational excellence for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade schooling and calls attention to the fundamental importance of the assistant principal. The program is sponsored by the NAESP Foundation in partnership with The Pearson Foundation.

Kaneshiro’s success in transforming math instruction at Aiea Elementary symbolizes his daily determination and collaborative demeanor, according to his co-workers.

Aiea Elementary Principal Kathleen O’Malley, who arrived on the pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade campus alongside Kaneshiro, praised his data-focused approach and “total commitment to student achievement.”

“Dean worked directly with students who were struggling in math as well as with their teachers,” she said. “In addition, our parent involvement in school continues to grow.”

Kaneshiro credited the school’s success in part to strong relationships he developed with parents, teachers and students, and an open-door attitude that makes staff feel comfortable sharing any concerns.

“Taking the time to talk with teachers even though the day could be really busy with discipline issues and operational concerns is very important,” he wrote in his application for the award, adding: “I hope to leave a legacy of caring and support for the school community.”

Math teacher Maile Bajet said Kaneshiro’s ability to build school, family and community collaboration has been impressive.

“He has gone beyond the standard duties … and is always willing to help whenever and wherever necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of each and everyone on our school campus,” said Bajet, who teaches fourth graders.

Kaneshiro earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Development, a professional teaching diploma and a master’s degree in Educational Foundation from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He previously served as vice principal at Kawananakoa Middle and Pearl City High, and worked as curriculum coordinator for Kaimiloa Elementary.

To be eligible for the award, candidates must be NAESP members and demonstrate exceptional leadership in a particular school program; be respected by students, colleagues, parents and the community at large; and set high expectations for school staff and students. For more information, please visit www.naesp.org.

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Donalyn Dela Cruz
Director of Communications
Phone: (808) 586-3232
E-mail: donalyn_dela_cruz@notes.k12.hi.us