Haleiwa Elementary principal honored with national award

Local News
Hawaii National Distinguished Principal Malaea Wetzel_91414

Haleiwa Elementary School principal Malaea Wetzel has been named the state’s 2015 National Distinguished Principal.

This honor comes a year after Haleiwa Elementary was named a national blue ribbon school.

Wetzel became principal in School Year 2009-10 when student proficiency in reading was at 77 percent and 64 in math. The following year the scores shot up to 92 percent in reading and 99 percent in math. Those high scores have been consistent over the years.

“In the four of the five years that she was principal, Haleiwa Elementary had the highest math scores in the state at an elementary school,” said area superintendent John Brummel. “Malaea takes a team approach in making decisions based upon data. She is very effective in using data and knowing when to give kids extra support. It’s a mark of a great leader when you know how to use the resources that you have effectively.”

In accepting the honor, Wetzel shared a deep appreciation for the work of many. “There’s no way I would be up here without my faculty, staff and family making me look good,” she said.

Wetzel (Central District) was among seven district nominees honored on Sunday for their excellence and leadership. The other nominees were:

  • Lorelei Aiwohi, Kalakaua Middle (Honolulu District)
  • Erik Burkman, Kalaheo Elementary (Kauai District)
  • Shelley Ferrara, Mauka Lani Elementary (Leeward District)
  • Deborah Nekomoto, Kapunahala Elementary (Windward District)
  • Michael Pollock, Lihikai Elementary (Maui District)

Also honored was the 2015 Outstanding Vice Prinicipal, Shannon Cabanilla from Lihikai Elementary School on Maui.

The National Distinguished Principals program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators who ensure that America’s children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. The program was established in 1984 to recognize and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities.

The 2015 National Distinguished Principal national event will be held on October 15 and 16 in Washington, D.C.

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