Contact: Sandra Goya
Date: March 19, 2010

Waianae Intermediate's Bernadine Taaca named Hawaii's Top Vice Principal

Waianae Intermediate School vice principal Bernadine “Bernie” Taaca has been selected as Hawaii’s 2010 State Assistant Principal of the Year. Taaca is one of 52 vice principals nationwide being honored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Taaca, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, began her career in public education in 1980 as a special education teacher at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School. In 1981, she began a 20-year tenure teaching health and physical education at Waianae Intermediate. Taaca was appointed one of Waianae Intermediate’s three vice principals in 2002.

Leeward District complex area superintendent Lisa DeLong praised Taaca as someone who “has given her heart and soul in support of public education.” Waianae Intermediate School principal Raechelle Fabrao called Taaca “the heart of Waianae Intermediate School” and a “devoted member of the Waianae community.” She also said Taaca “has changed the atmosphere of the school today to a positive place where teachers strive to bring out the greatest potential of every student.”

Taaca was also praised by Waianae community member Faye Shaver-Simons, who submitted a letter of recommendation on Taaca’s behalf. In it, Shaver-Simons wrote: “Bernie’s straight forward, no excuses, can do attitude struck a chord with the students she taught, counseled, and coached over the years. They knew that Mrs. Taaca was born and raised in Waianae, just like them. If she could be successful, so could they.”

This year’s honorees will be celebrated at the annual Assistant Principal’s Forum and Banquet held in Washington, D.C., this April. From the state winners, three finalists are selected to become eligible for the National Assistant Principal of the Year award.

The State and National Assistant Principal of the Year program recognizes outstanding middle level and high school assistant principals for their dedication and success in school leadership to staff and students. Learn more at

Vice Principal Taaca's photo: