Retired educator Daniel Hamada was honored as the first Kaua‘i Distinguished Alumni by the University of Hawai‘i College of Education and the UH College of Education Alumni Association on Tuesday.
“This award is one that honors a College of Education alumni who currently resides on the island of Kaua‘i for their leadership and many contributions to the world of education,” said Steve Shiraki, the president of the UH College of Education Alumni Association.
Shiraki was joined by Nathan Murata, dean of the UH College of Education, in presenting the honor to Hamada and a small group of Kaua‘i principals, the Kapa‘a High School staff and administrators, and Kaua‘i Board of Education member William “Bill” Arakaki.
Hamada modestly thanked the Honolulu dignitaries for the honor, saying “It takes a village. Together, people make things happen.”
Shiraki said that, due to the pandemic, the recognition ceremony was delayed for at least two years.
He noted that Hamada’s career spanned more than 40 years.
“His outstanding, committed leadership throughout his career in the Department of Education, and even extending into his retirement, is one of the themes for his nomination for the Distinguished Alumni honor,” Shiraki said.
Hamada was selected from a field of three semifinalists for the award.
Shiraki said he first met Hamada in 2003, Hamada was state Department of Education Kaua‘i Complex Area superintendent, and there was the transition of the school health aides from the state Department of Health to the DOE.
“What I recall was the manner in which he served to help principals to understand what the transition might look like, and as a result, I recall that principals came forth with questions that clearly indicated a common commitment to endure that the transition would benefit both health aides, students and families,” he said.
“I left that day with two feelings that stayed with me for many years. First, I felt supported by his leadership and the manner in which he insured that all principals and schools were equally committed to a more common, positive direction. And secondly, I acknowledged the evidence of a positive culture that put people at the front and center.”
Shiraki said he did not connect with Hamada until he was the principal at Kapa‘a High following the retirement of Gilmore Youn.
“Again, I heard the theme of his efforts to grow and develop administrators and teachers on the island,” Shiraki said. “I thought to myself, ‘This is exactly why he was selected as the 2022 College of Education Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni.’”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island
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