May 15, 2011
Hawaii's Top Secondary School Principal and Vice Principal honored
Exceptional school leaders were recognized by the Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators at a special awards banquet held at the Hale Koa Hotel on May 15.
Samiann "Aloha" Coleman, principal of Leilehua High School, has been named the MetLife /National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Hawaii High School Principal of the Year. Earlier this year, Maui Waena Intermediate School Vice Principal Jacquelyn Davis was selected as the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) /Virco Hawaii State Assistant Principal of the Year.
[Note: Ms. Davis was unable to attend today's awards banquet.]
(l-r) Noreen Clement, MetLife; Burton Tomita, executive director of the Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators; Aloha Coleman, principal of Leilehua High School; and Patricia Ann Park, Leilehua/Mililani/Waialua complex area superintendent.
Samiann "Aloha" Coleman
Leilehua High School
MetLife/NASSP Hawaii High School Principal of the Year
Since 2007, Samiann "Aloha" Coleman has cultivated an environment of high expectations for students and staff at Leilehua High, a Central Oahu District school with a student population of 1,900. Despite a high transiency rate due to military impacted youth, Coleman and her team have ignited a passion for learning at the school. From 2008 to 2010, Leilehua's average graduation rate remained a steady 97 percent.
"Coleman has established a culture of learning and an atmosphere of caring and respect for all students and members of the community," noted Complex Area Superintendent Patricia Ann Park. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the challenging economic times for the Wahiawa community, have clearly affected students. Under Coleman's leadership, the school's focus on "Response to Intervention" has enabled Leilehua to provide students with systemic supports and interventions embedded in the bell schedule, math/reading labs, web-based learning, and after-school programs.
Wheeler Middle School principal Brenda Vierra-Chun observed, "[Coleman] is uncompromising in her quest for quality educational opportunities for all young people and has earned the respect of students, faculty, parents, and community members."
She actively promotes professional development for teachers and mentors aspiring administrators. The percentage of teachers that have stayed at Leilehua for five or more years has increased from 59 percent (2008-09) to 64 percent (2009-10).
Coleman earned her bachelor and master degrees in education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she is presently pursuing her doctorate. Prior to her principalship at Leilehua, she served as a school renewal specialist at the Central Oahu District for two years, principal of Waialua High and Intermediate for six years, and vice principal at Leilehua High for three years.
Coleman will join State Principals of the Year representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity at the Principal’s Institute and Awards Banquet to be held in Washington, D.C., later this year.
The MetLife/NASSP Principal of the Year program began in 1993 as a means to recognize outstanding secondary school leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students, as well as exemplary contributions to their profession.
Maui Waena Intermediate School
NASSP/Virco Hawaii State Assistant Principal of the Year
Maui Waena Intermediate School vice principal Jacquelyn Davis was one of 52 vice principals nationwide honored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Virco at the annual Assistant Principal's Forum and Banquet held in Washington, D.C., March 30 - April 2, 2011.
Jamie Yap, principal of Maui Waena Intermediate School, credited Davis with changing the culture of the school and improving its academic achievement. He applauded Davis' philosophy of "Success by design, not by luck," noting that the entire school has adopted her mantra. "With her help, we have been able to change the culture of the school and improve our academic achievement." Yap said also that Davis' support of students, family and staff is her commitment to excellence.
Maui Waena teacher Susan Tomoso observed that Davis works collaboratively with Yap to bring pertinent professional development that meets the vision and mission of the school as well as the needs of the teachers. "She leads by example; it is what she expects the teachers to do with their students," said Tomoso.
Davis earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Nevada and a master's degree in administration and supervision from the University of Phoenix. An 18-year veteran of education systems in Las Vegas and Maui, her career with the Hawaii State Department of Education began in 2001 when she was appointed as a vice principal at Lahaina Intermediate School. For the last five years, Davis has served as vice principal at Maui Waena Intermediate School in Kahului.
Since 2004, NASSP and Virco have sponsored the State and National Assistant Principal of the Year program to recognize outstanding middle level and high school assistant principals for their dedication and success in school leadership to staff and students. Learn more at
School contact info:
Aloha Coleman, Principal
Leilehua High School
1515 California Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786
ph. (808) 622-6550
Jacquelyn Davis, Vice Principal
Maui Waena Intermediate School
795 Onehee Avenue
Kahului, HI 96732
ph. (808) 873-3070