Stacie Kunihisa

Stacie SG Kunihisa

Kanoelani Elementary School
Leeward School District
Waipahu, Hawaii

Stacie S.G. Kunihisa has served seven of her 10 years as principal harnessing collaboration and local leadership to advance student learning at Kanoelani Elementary, a K-6 school serving 760 students in Waipahu, Hawaii. Through creative community partnerships, Kunihisa has recuperated funding for extracurriculars, bringing in over $250,000 in funding and human resources to expand from just four to 23 distinct offerings. Driven by her commitment to building a culture of lifelong professional learning, Kunihisa measures her success by a marked increase in teacher satisfaction—from 50 percent to 98.4 percent under her leadership. According to sixth grade teacher Lauren An, Kunihisa inspires professional growth by leading by example. She has implemented the Teachers Leading and Learning program to encourage the faculty to share their skills with one another, while growing a culture of feedback through Peer to Peer observations. These efforts have supported the school’s social-emotional learning program, Choose Love, and has also led teachers to independently train in project-based learning and other whole child strategies that center student voice in the learning process. Kunihisa was also awarded the coveted 2019 Masayuki Tokioka Principal of the Year Award, receiving $25,000 for excellence in leadership to fund a special “Lokahi Lounge” that will service multilingual families in the school and community. In addition to her principalship, Kunihisa serves in a variety of leadership roles within her district, in which she has advanced K-12 critical thinking initiatives and advocated for equitable special education funding, among other accomplishments. She holds an M.A. in Educational Administration from Central Michigan University and a B.A. in English Education from the University of Oklahoma.