WAIMEA — Mahina Anguay was shocked when she was announced as the winner of a leadership award last week, given by the Island Insurance Foundation.
“I had no idea, no inkling,” she said. “But I’m really thankful; it’s a big honor.”
The award validates the hard work school staff and its students have put in over the last few years, she added.
“It gives us the encouragement and determination to keep doing what we started,” she said.
During a Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation dinner on Oahu Thursday, Anguay was announced as the winner of the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award, which is given to public school principals who demonstrate leadership and community-minded qualities.
During her three years as principal at WHS, Anguay implemented the Science, Technology, Resources, Engineering, Art/Humanities and Math, or STREAM Program.
The program links classroom lessons with post-secondary education and training.
“We need to prepare our kids for a future we’re not sure about,” Anguay said. “Besides offering Early College math, science and English classes, we’re looking to at building skills like communication, technology and collaboration. No matter a student’s level, we want to be able to support them.”
As this year’s winner, Anguay received $25,000. While she gets to keep $10,000 of it, the remaining amount will go to a school project of her choice.
She plans on working with Kauai Community College to offer more Early College classes for students. She also wants to start a transitional program for freshman.
“We want to be able to shepherd them in and shepherd them out,” she said.
WHS is recognized as one of 10 schools that has showed outstanding improvement in ACT composite scores and one of 10 schools with an outstanding graduation rate.
Amid the successes, however, there is still more for WHS to accomplish, she said.
“The award is a celebration of our success,” she said. “But we know there’s a lot of room to grow, and that’s our goal.”