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Kaho‘ohalahala happy in new role leading Princess Nahienaena School

By Staff | Sep 15, 2011


LAHAINA — Lynn Kaho’ohalahala is a person who truly represents the cherished Hawaiian philosophy of malama pono — to nurture in a motherly way that which is good and righteous.

And, in being blessed with a kind and caring soul, she has applied this affection to the most noble of endeavors: to mentor and educate the children of Maui.

For her entire adult life, Kaho’ohalahala has taken the high road to first gain the knowledge and credentials to become an educator, and then return to her beloved island home to pay forward that learning as a teacher and administrator.

She graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a Bachelor’s Degree, then Master’s Degree, in Education, and then earned her certification in administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

She has spent the 37 years since with the Hawaii Department of Education, serving in stints for 23 years at Lanai High and Elementary School as a teacher and at her alma mater of Lahainaluna High School as a peer education mentor. Next, she moved into the administration building at Lahainaluna for some ten years as a vice principal.

“I have a lot of aloha in my heart for Lahainaluna, where I gained the foundation of what I’m trying to do today,” said Kaho’ohalahala last week.

And today — well, officially on Aug. 22 of this year — Kaho’ohalahala sits in the principal’s office just down the road from Lahainaluna at Princess Nahienaena Elementary School as the headmaster for the staff of 75 teachers, counselors, office and campus workers, and the 661 students from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade.

She was taken on as a temporary hire in January, officially applied for the principal’s post and was hired last month.

The circle of life has thus connected for Lynn Kaho’ohalahala.

“I am so very happy for the opportunity to lead this school. I feel like we are moving from good to great and getting better at it… I think of the move as the analogy of it being hard to move from Lahainaluna High School, but it’s like moving from one home to another. And now I embrace Princess Nahienaena as my new home,” she said.

According to Kaho’ohalahala, a specific goal for the school is to move with the Hawaii State Assessment (HSA) restructuring initiatives to maintain standards that were met and to improve the English Language Learning (ELL) group’s scores to meet the standard.

“We want to improve in all areas by ten percent and move to common core standards for all groups by 2014,” she explained.

Her personal goal is to work more closely with King Kamehameha III Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate School and Lahainaluna to create a seamless K-12 transition for the children in the educational system here on the West Side.

“I will work hard in the present to make the future better for our kids — to build a foundation for students to become successful graduates of Lahainaluna. We all understand the expectations of being a graduate here, so we can build upon those expectations to help these kids get there also,” she said.

Princess Nahienaena School’s mission states: “Students, staff, parents, and community of Princess Nahienaena (School) will share the responsibility to develop and maintain a challenging environment that consistently promotes and enhances academic, personal, physical, and creative excellence. We will work collaboratively to provide a safe and healthy environment.”

Just below this mission statement reads another cherished Hawaiian philosophy: “E lauhoe mai a wa’a; i ke ka, i ka hoe; i ka hoe, i ke pa; pae aku i ka ‘aina. Everybody paddle the canoes together; bail and paddle, paddle and bail; and the shore is reached. Pitch in with a will, everybody, and the work is quickly done.”

Kaho’ohalahala appreciates the teamwork at Princess Nahienaena School.

“I send my aloha and thank you out to everybody — the students, the teachers, staff, parents and community partnerships. It’s all good,” she concluded.