KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sheena Alaiasa has been chosen as Castle High's new principal effective immediately.
The award-winning leader has served as the Kaneohe school's acting principal since last January.
Alaiasa is the first principal in Hawaii's history to win the National Association of Secondary School Principals "National Middle Level Principal of the Year" title. Earlier this school year, the former six-year leader of King Intermediate bested more than 50 principals – one from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education schools.
Her vast experience includes posts as a teacher at Kahaluu Elementary; vice principal at Heeia and Kailua Elementary schools; and principal at King.
While at King, Alaiasa led the school and its 600 students out of restructuring – the severest sanction under the No Child Left Behind Law – in only three years; elevated it to one of only seven schools in Hawaii to close the achievement gap; and earned it recognition as a Strive HI school in 2013. Strive HI is the state Department of Education's school accountability and improvement system.
Among Alaiasa's professional recognitions are Hawaii's 2013 Intermediate Principal of the Year and 2013 Windward District Intermediate Principal of the Year.
Of great and rare significance: Virtually all of Castle's 1,551 students were Alaiasa's students at Heeia Elementary and King Intermediate.
"Not many principals have experienced seeing students grow as their elementary school teacher or principal, then being their high school principal when they graduate," Alaiasa said." We're putting internal systems in place at Castle and once our infrastructures are set, we'll also continue working more closely with Windward Community College and community partners to provide the best educational experience for our youth. I'm excited and honored to have this privilege."
Alaiasa earned a master's degree in educational administration and a bachelor's degree in elementary education.