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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 18, 2006

Foundation honors state educators

Advertiser Staff

The Public Schools of Hawai'i Foundation last night honored public school teachers, administrators, grant awardees and corporate supporters at a banquet at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the quality of education by creating opportunities for innovative school-level ideas, supporting programs that benefit students and encouraging those in public education to challenge themselves.

Presentations included:

  • The Tom Adams Award, which recognizes teachers for their "Good Idea Grant" projects. Honored were Jeanine Nakamura of the McKinley complex; Linda Oszajca of Jarrett Middle School; and Laurie Taguchi of Noelani Elementary.

  • The Francis M. Hatanaka Team Award, for teachers who make a difference through teamwork and collaboration. Honored were Manuel Jadulang, Wilma Place, Lawrence Rice, Aaron Shimakura and Ezra Witsman of Kealakehe High School.

  • The Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award, sponsored by Island Insurance Foundation, went to Radford High Principal Robert Stevens. He was honored for creating a student transition center. The center, the first of its kind on the island, helps freshmen and other new students get comfortable with their new school through such activities as a "lunch bunch" and after-school tutoring.

    Stevens received a $10,000 personal cash award plus $15,000 for a school project. The two semifinalists, Catherine Payne of Farrington High and Gerald Suyama of Pearl City High, each received a $2,000 personal award.

    The award is named for the late Masayuki Tokioka, founder of Island Insurance Co. Ltd.

    Other foundation honorees:

  • Matt Levi, owner of a private detective agency and security company. Levi helps Hawai'i's youth through after-school martial arts classes and other activities. He also is chairman of the Hawaiian Humane Society.

  • Ronald Migita, chairman of Central Pacific Bank. Migita has been honored by the Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America, for his dedication to the community. A member of the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents, Migita also was past president of the Public Schools of Hawai'i Foundation and chairman of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

  • Florence Yamada, who during her 43 years of service as a state employee never took sick leave. Yamada worked for 25 years as administrative services assistant at 'Aiea High School, secretary to the superintendent of education and executive secretary to the chief of staff in the governor's office.

  • The Honolulu Advertiser, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this summer.