Anguay is Principal of the Year

  • Photo courtesy Basilio Fuertes

    Mahina Anguay

  • Contributed by Mahina Anguay

    Waimea High School Principal Mahina Anguay is with her husband Leo Anguay and grandchildren Brook and Braxton Anguay.

  • Contributed by Mahina Anguay

    Mahina Anguay and her husband Leo Anguay enjoy a day of golf.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Start your engines! Waimea High Principal Mahina Anguay announces the start of the alternative graduation ceremony Friday at Kaua‘i Raceway Park in Mana.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Waimea High School Principal Mahina Anguay helps shoppers bid for goods and services at the third community health fair held at the Clem Gomes Gym on the Waimea campus.

Mahina Anguay, principal of Waimea High School, has been selected as the 2020 Hawai‘i Association of Secondary School Administrators Principal of the Year, nominated by state Department of Education Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki.

“Well deserved,” Arakaki said of the Principal of the Year designation. “We thank Principal Anguay for your leadership, love and passion for students, families, staff, and community. Go Waimea Menehune.”

Anguay has been the principal at Waimea High School for the past seven years. She and her husband Leo Anguay have six children and 15 grandchildren. They reside in Waimea.

Anguay said moving from a traditional, comprehensive high-school model to a career-academy-focused one has been a huge change for Waimea High since she has been involved.

“Becoming an original Future Ready school and ensuring students and staff have the right equipment, training to be technologically proficient, has been another big change. We’ve been a 1:1 school for a few years now,” said Anguay.

Anguay said she has many supporters to thank who have been instrumental in her career and helped her think deeply about how she wanted to lead.

Anguay said former bosses like Catherine Payne, “my principal at Farrington High School, Calvin Nomiyama, former CAS (complex area superintendent) on O‘ahu,” and Dr. Westcott, her mentor, have all helped her throughout her administrative training.

“On Kaua‘i, I’ve been influenced by, of course, Mr. Arakaki, my two principals at Kaua‘i High School, Linda Smith and Deb Lindsey, and Lisa Mireles, who now works with the Buck Institute,” said Anguay.

“I’ve had some great vice principals and athletic directors as well: Anne Kane, Marilyn Asahi, Allison Carveiro, Penny Vess, Dino Pabre and Jon Kobayashi, who have each brought their strengths to the school and taught me how to be a better leader.”

Anguay said her biggest mahalo goes to her family, which understands her drive and passion to serve Waimea.

“They sacrifice time together as a family, and they often get me at my worst when I come home at the end of the day, exhausted or frustrated,” said Anguay. “My poor husband and granddaughter, unfortunately, celebrate birthdays on August first, which is the beginning of school each year.”

She continued: “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to play catch-up with them both over time. Thankfully, they still love me and allow me the support to do this work.”

Currently, Anguay is focused on setting up a plan for the resumption of school in August, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ultimately, as an educator, Anguay said her goal is to graduate students who are “technically proficient, resilient and purposeful, and culturally- and community-minded.” Working with the dual-credit programs at Kaua‘i Community College is one of the ways Anguay helps students further their education.

“My vision for my teachers and staff is very similar, that they continue to find deep personal value in teaching and grow professionally,” said Anguay.

Alongside her new title as Principal of the Year, Anguay is also the recipient of the Liko A‘e award with Kamehameha Schools, and in 2016 she received the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award. Other community activities include involvement in her church, president of the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation, involvement in Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association activities, Delta Kapaa Gamma secretary, and Mayor Derek Kawakami’s representative to the Native Hawaiian Education Council.

Anguay is also a member of the Waimea Alumni and Friends Foundation and Waimea High’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association, and School Community Council.

“Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to serve and give back to the community that did so much for me and my brothers when we were growing up in Waimea,” said Anguay. “I’m thankful for all the support that our school receives not only from the people here but also from alumni who live all across the globe.”

She continued: “I’m extremely thankful for the awesome staff at Waimea High School. None of this would be possible without them as they make my job easier.”

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Stephanie Shinno, features and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

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