Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic may still be the basic principles of education, but two new principals are bringing their expertise into the mix as personnel changes take place at Waimea Elementary School and Honokaa High School.
“I’ve received a warm welcome from everybody,” said Principal Scott Tamura, who stepped into the leadership role at Waimea Elementary School vacated by Marcella McClelland as she transitioned to Honokaa High School. “I’m an elementary school teacher at heart, and I enjoy working with the elementary teachers and students very much,” said Tamura.
Tamura moved to WES from Kealakehe High School where he was vice principal for four years. Prior to that, he taught elementary school in Kona and Hilo. Still in “transition mode” after two weeks on the job, Tamura looks forward to working with the “village” of Waimea and its surrounds to help prepare students to become part of the community.
“The saying ‘it takes a village’ is so definitely true,” said Tamura. “Teachable moments happen in the classrooms, but so many teachable moments come up out in the community—whether it’s in the check-out line at the market, where there are math opportunities, or out on the soccer field, where there are character-building opportunities. Outside of academics, we want to take advantage of all these kinds of opportunities and it’s going to take a community effort.”
“It was really hard to leave after eight years,” said WES’ former Principal Marcella McClelland. “It was my first principal-ship.”
Like Tamura, McClelland began her career as an elementary school teacher, a job which she said has changed over the years.
“There is a lot more professional learning going on,” said McClelland. “And a lot more focus on students as individuals.” McClelland said that knowing student data and planning for individual success have been key.
“We have come such a long way,” she said.
Prior to WES, McClelland served as vice principal at Baldwin High school on Maui, and, although she loved her time at WES, she was happy to return to a high school environment.
“Honokaa is a smaller school, and an older school. We have three historic buildings on our campus—the auditorium, A Building and E Building,” said McClelland. “In some ways, it is kind of like the children take a step back in time.”
At the same time, McClelland enjoys the opportunity to teach students an appreciation of their heritage.
“They realize these are not just old funky buildings, they are actually community treasures,” said McClelland. “It’s part of what keeps Honokaa, Honokaa.”
“The school is such a big part of the community, very reflective of it,” said McClelland. “This is a small community, so it is very easy and natural to be supportive of Honokaa High School.”
She said that one easy way to participate is to come out and cheer the Dragons at sports events, and to support athletic programs.
“I don’t want to say they don’t support us, because they do. We are very supported by the community,” said McClelland, “Keep it up!”