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2012 Monthly Newsletters
2011 Monthly Newsletters
Meet our New Leadership Team
Emma Weiss, Principal, Kamaile Academy
Aloha mai kakou,
I am very excited about the opportunity to move to Wai’anae and work with the students, faculty and parents of Kamaile Academy!
We will get to know each other very well, and I look forward to that. For now, let me introduce myself by explaining a bit about my background. I was born in England, raised in Buffalo NY, and spent twenty - five years in Boston, Massachusetts. For the last four years, I have lived in Arizona, where I served as Principal of a small, rural school that served 342 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
I started my career as a social worker, and spent 14 years as a therapist, protective service worker, program director for residential programs and consultant in both the mental health and special education fields. In 1999 I became Program Director of The Merrimack School in Chelmsford Massachusetts, an alternative school for students experiencing social, emotional, behavioral and/or learning disabilities. My eight years at Merrimack were exciting and challenging. We created one of the state’s first alternative vocational programs and a middle school program geared towards students diagnosed with autism.
In 2007 I moved to Arizona to become Principal of Mt. Tipton School. Mt. Tipton was identified several years ago as an underperforming school and had failed to make AYP for several years under federal guidelines. My teachers and I worked extremely hard to turn the school around, and within two years, we had become a performing plus school under AZ standards. We also became one of fifteen schools in the state to receive the first School Improvement Grants, and adopted the Transformation Model as the basis of our restructuring. We are currently finishing our first year under the restructuring, and have made many gains. Our High School Reading results have just come in, showing that 75% of our students are meeting standards, 25% approaching and no students falling far below!
I am a great believer in what can be accomplished by a team of professionals and parents committed to working together. I am excited to meet our students and honored to be part of the next phase of Kamaile Academy’s journey toward excellence.
Anna Winslow, Vice Principal, Grades P-2
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller
These are twelve simple, but powerful words that resonate in me, and are hopefully resonating in you as well. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the children and community of Kamaile Academy. There is so much I want for our children, our school, and our families, but I cannot do it alone.
As one of Kamaile Academy’s vice principals, I am committed to working with the leadership team, teachers, staff, and especially students and parents in creating a place where dreaming and imagining possibilities are embraced; a place that nurtures self-confidence, creativity, and empowerment. I want our children to imagine the possibilities, have the courage to pursue them, and make them a reality.
Arriving to this country as a 2nd grader not speaking English, I know first-hand the struggles that need to be overcome to be successful. I received support not only from my parents, but also from my teachers. Without their concerted efforts, I would not be where I am today. Success requires support, and for our students to be successful, we need to recognize their needs and foster individual talents.
As for my part, I will ensure they have a high quality, well-rounded education where they are safe and feel free to express their intellectual, athletic, and artistic capabilities. Also, I want to ensure that effective and frequent communication flow amongst us so we can best support our children. My attention to detail, along with everyone’s contributions, will be the difference between settling for something good for our keiki and aiming for something great. The Kamaile ‘ohana will take care of our keiki, and the ‘ohana is all of us.
Paul Kepka, Vice Principal, Grades 3-6
Kamaile Academy’s P-20 vision is unique and powerful, and I am excited to be part of the administrative team that will be leading our students to success. Having been at the school for the last seven years and living within district lines, I have a heartfelt connection to the school and the students.
Every day I see smiles and excitement on the faces of our children. I believe that our students are hungry to learn new things and they are wanting educational opportunities that are challenging, meaningful and stimulating. I also believe and observe that our teachers and staff genuinely love and care for our children and are committed to providing quality instruction and student support.
Over the last several months the school has endured a great transition that has challenged the values and the vision of the school. I feel confident that the school is still true to its core values and P-20 vision. I am honored and committed to ensuring that all students and their families will come to know Kamaile Academy as a place of opportunity and success for all learners.
Christopher Cale, Ph.D., Vice Principal, Grades 7-10
I am very excited to be joining the Kamaile leadership team. Having family on both O’ahu and Maui has allowed me to develop a love for the islands’ beauty and spirit. I grew up in California with an FBI agent father and a social worker/counselor mother. Subsequently, I developed a passion for advocating social justice, tolerance, and possibility.
In my free time, I love playing my guitar, singing and writing songs. For most of my adult and adolescent life, I have performed in various musical groups and get a true sense of fulfillment from sharing my music with others. I am also an avid travel and have trekked across 47 countries.
One of the things that has inspired me about living and working in Wai’anae is the opportunity to immerse myself in the Hawaiian culture. What better way to do this than to assume a leadership role in a community school.
I completed my Bachelor of Science in Criminology and my Master of Science in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling, and School Counseling at California State University Sacramento. I completed my Masters of Education and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I have worked in education for 17 years which has included teaching and counseling at the K through University level. I have been a Vice Principal for the last seven years and I absolutely love my job.
I look forward to building upon the current strengths of Kamaile and making a difference in the lives of the children and community.
Mahealani Agosto, Director, Counseling Center
Working for Kamaile Academy for the past few months has never been a dull moment. People are passionate in their beliefs and not afraid to speak their minds. With such a vibrant staff, there is no need to wonder what people are thinking. Students, parents, teachers and individuals of the community are not afraid to tell you what their concerns are.
Administration, teachers, staff, students and parents have overall responded respectfully to my presence and changes that I bring to Kamaile campus. I humbly am thankful for what Kamaile has taught me and I look forward in further connecting and developing a deeper relationship with all.
Kenneth Ferenchak, Director, Student Support Services Center
Aloha! It is with great honor and excitement that I accept this opportunity to serve the school and community I love so dearly as Student Support Services Coordinator. Over the past three years teaching in the classroom, I have developed an enormous amount of love, respect, and appreciation for the gifted young people of Wai’anae.
While I have valued every single moment instructing them academically, my favorite times have been those opportunities I have shared with them experiencing education and development in a broader sense. My previous experience in international development and current involvement with the planning of our high school have convinced me that true educational success comes in the form of nurturing the “whole child.” All of our children possess incredible gifts and talents; our duty as educators is to grant them the opportunity to live up to the limitless potential each one of them possesses.
In the same vein, the best way to nurture the “whole child” is by connecting the school with the families and community that serve as its foundation. We have so many wonderful people doing so many wonderful things already within our school and broader community. It is an absolute privilege to have this opportunity to join these efforts more directly and continue the work to fulfill the vision we have for the keiki of Kamaile.