Brenda L. Vierra-Chun
Major Sheldon Wheeler Middle School
Central School District
Brenda Vierra-Chun has served Major Sheldon Wheeler Middle School (MSWMS) in Wahiawa, Hawaii since 1992. In her 17-year tenure as principal, Vierra-Chun has focused her energy on creating structures that build the leadership capacity of her team members. For her, this work is about creating a culture in which educators “hold each other accountable and feel empowered to contribute authentically.” This approach to distributed leadership has resulted in the career and leadership advancement of multiple teachers, while creating the conditions of sustained academic achievement and growth. Students at MSWMS consistently score among the highest in the state in Language Arts and Math, building on impressive long-term growth, particularly in math, where proficiency has increased from 11 percent to 76 percent under her leadership. This trajectory of improvement has been anchored by Vierra-Chun’s mastery of data-based progress monitoring as a guide for strategic interventions, which she has systematized and embedded into the professional culture of MSWMS. Her collaborative spirit has also led to a generative response to student survey results indicating a need for increased sense of safety at the school, which was quickly achieved through stakeholder-led implementation of whole child development practices and a school wide RESPECT campaign. Vierra-Chun holds an M.S in Counseling Psychology from San Diego State University and a B.S. is Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Hawaii.