Michael K. Harano
Washington Middle School
Honolulu School District
Honolulu, Hawaii

For a school to improve, Michael Harano stresses the importance of teacher leadership. “Leadership is an essential component of school improvement,” he says, “and it is especially important for teachers to take on leadership roles.” At his middle school, teachers who serve as department chairs act as curriculum leaders, those who serve as team leaders promote middle-school practices, and those who serve on the Committee for School Improvement help the school maintain high standards and accreditation. Harano also embraces his role as the school’s instructional leader, which is key, he believes, “in order for high student achievement to flourish.” He became principal of Washington Middle School in 2003. The urban site hosts 857 students in grades 6 to 8. To enable teachers to present the improvements they have made in teaching and testing practices, Harano started an annual standards conference more than six years ago. At the conference, teachers from his school have shared exemplary student work, samples of lessons and assessment tools, and self-reflections. Harano also launched a professional journal called Insights so teachers could share in writing their best instructional and assessment practices with peers. The journal is distributed to all public schools in Hawaii. Harano has previously served as an elementary school principal. He holds a B.Ed. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.