PUHI — Jean Morris starts as the new principal of Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on July 1.
Although Morris was already the acting principal at CKMS, the state’s Department of Education made it official through a recent announcement, in which Morris was recognized and approved by DOE Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto.
Morris received her master’s degree in education at University of Phoenix, her bachelor’s degree in science from Colorado State University, and her associate’s degree at Kaua‘i Community College. She graduated from Kaua‘i High School. Morris also received her professional certificate and professional school administrator credential from the DOE.
“Being selected as principal at CKMS during this pandemic is exhilarating, although there are many challenges right now, especially in planning the reopening of school,” Morris said. “I am so inspired by the people who make up the CKMS and Kaua‘i complex ‘ohana and their willingness to problem-solve and do what’s right for students.”
Morris said the school’s vision statement is “E Holomua I Ka Na‘auao” (Progress Through Knowledge), which means to “always strive, constantly learn and forever improve.”
“My vision for the school is to continue to address the needs of all of our students as we provide opportunities to help them prepare for college and or career,” said Morris. “I would like the students to know that their future is full of endless possibilities, and we at CKMS are here to support them through the middle-school experience.”
She continued: “I would also like them to know that my office is always open, and I welcome the students’ voices.”
Morris said she believes that everyone has special gifts to share, and would like to create a safe haven for everyone to be themselves.
“I want to ensure that we provide a safe and positive environment that allows all stakeholders in our CKMS ‘ohana to constantly grow and evolve, “ said Morris.
In her view, it takes a village to raise a child, and Morris believes community effort is required to ensure students are educated in a safe and positive environment.
“I welcome the opportunity to speak with parents and community members,” said Morris. “Please feel free to contact me with any questions and concerns.”
She continued: “I may not be able to answer all of them, but believe that together we can collaborate to find answers to the many challenges that lay ahead.”
Prior to becoming the principal at CKMS, Morris was a vice principal at CKMS for three years, and a vice principal intern at Kapa‘a High School.
Morris said in her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, adventuring to different parts of the island she hasn’t seen in a while, or she can be found cooking or tasting food from different places.
Morris said her parents were a big inspiration, but in education, there are others in her field who inspire her on a daily basis.
“Mrs. Gloria Matsuba (always believed) in me and encouraging me to pursue a degree in education,” said Morris. “Coach Mackey Doi taught me that no matter what choices we make in life, there is always an opportunity to choose a better tomorrow.”
Morris said that Doi’s message has stuck with her until this day, and she refers to it frequently.
Stephanie Shinno, features and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.