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Hawaii Teacher Wins National Distinguished Principal Award

A 20-year veteran administrator with the Hawaii State Department of Education has been named the state’s top principal for 2014 by the Hawaii Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association (HEMSAA). Duwayne Abe, who has been principal at Salt Lake Elementary School since 2002, was selected as Hawaii’s National Distinguished Principal at a weekend luncheon at the Hale Koa Hotel.


Duwayne Abe

The other nominees were:

•Rochelle Mahoe (Honolulu District, Noelani Elementary),
•Stacie Kunihisa (Leeward District, Kanoelani Elementary),
•Pua McElhaney (Windward District, Enchanted Lake Elementary), and
•Sherry Gonsalves (Kauai District, Kilauea Elementary)

“Principals are vital to every successful educational system,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “Each of these administrators has demonstrated exceptional leadership in their communities and we are sincerely grateful to them for the enormous efforts they put in to ensuring our students and teachers succeed at the highest levels.”

Abe has served in an administrative capacity at Salt Lake Elementary since 1998, when he was appointed vice principal. He was appointed principal in 2002. Prior to Salt Lake Elementary, he served as vice principal at Miliani Mauka. Salt Lake Elementary enrolls 800 students, and Abe attributes his school’s achievements to a focus on student learning and staff success. Currently, Salt Lake Elementary School has five Nationally Board Certified teachers on its staff.

“Every school faces the challenge of how to address the diverse student population,” said Principal Abe. “Making sure that all students are learning and making gains toward reaching their potential is our goal at Salt Lake Elementary.”

Abe and other award-winning principals will travel to Washington, D.C., in October to attend a two-day event honoring their accomplishments. The event will include opportunities to discuss issues current education issues, and a black-tie awards dinner and dance.

The National Distinguished Principals Program is sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and HEMSAA. The National Distinguished Principals Program reflects the key role that a principal plays in shaping the learning environment within a school.

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