She was named the top principal in the State and took home $25,000.

Sharon Beck, principal at Ka’u High and Pahala Elementary, won the 17th Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award last week.

Principal Beck joined Wake Up 2Day to discuss winning this prestigious award.

As the year’s top DOE principal, she received $25,000: a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 toward a school project of her choice.

Principal Sharon Beck Principal Beck has led Ka’ū High & Pahala Elementary for 17 years.

Ka’ū is the DOE’s largest geographic district in the state, and the community faces many unique challenges. Schools are small and rural; students often have long commutes coupled with limited access to resources and opportunities. Median household income there is less than half of that for the state as a whole, and more than 22% of Ka’ū residents live below the poverty line.

But Beck refuses to see those as hurdles that cannot be surmounted. As Principal Beck herself stated in her application, “Overall, my role as a leader is to build the structures for teachers, students and parents to provide students the best opportunities in spite of the rural/remote challenges of distance, poverty and lack of resources.”

Principal Beck plans to use her award money to purchase Olivia devices and licenses, which would allow teachers to upload their learning platforms onto Google Classroom. Olivia is a platform that delivers a digital learning experience regardless of broadband connectivity – critical to the area because of limited accessibility to the internet and the great distances many students travel from home to school. The Olivia devices would help teachers design even more engaging, relevant and rigorous lessons, as well as allow parents greater involvement in their children’s education.