MEd in Educational Administration & 2023 COEAA Distinguished Alumnus
"I choose to work in the public school system because I wholeheartedly believe in the work that we do. "
- MEd, Educational Administration: K-12
COE Spotlight on Sean Tajima
My best childhood memories are playing sports in the community, going crayfishing in Mānoa Stream, and riding my bike in the neighborhood. I am extremely fortunate to have had such a supportive family growing up. My parents emphasized the importance of education and provided many opportunities for me to explore extracurricular activities such as sports. They were always in my corner when I took on different challenges. I do my best to serve in that same capacity as a parent, educator, and colleague.
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, UH Mānoa (1995)
- Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology, Chaminade University, (2001)
- Masters of Educational Administration, UH Mānoa (2006)
Upon earning my undergraduate degree, I lived in a dojo in Kalihi valley for three years where I trained in zen and martial arts. I was fortunate to meet a great teacher there who inspired me to live my life to make others around me better. In order to do so, I have to continually make myself better and then apply it to impact the lives of others. He used to say that there’s no end to that. You just start, and don’t stop. It was there where I met several educators who shared that same belief, which is what inspired me to begin my career in education. I never fathomed that I’d someday be doing what I’m doing now.
Many people put a lot of time and energy into me before and during my career in education. I am always cognizant of that and always push myself to be the best I can be to make sure it was worth it for them to have invested time into me. I can never give them that time back. but I am committed to pay it forward by impacting others.
History as an Educator
- Nanakuli High and Intermediate, Special Education Teacher (1998-2000), School Counselor (2000-2001)
- Pearl City Highlands Elementary, School Counselor (2001-2002)
- Kapolei Middle School, School Counselor (2002-2003), Vice Principal (2003-2008)
- Makakilo Elementary School, Principal (2008-2012)
- Pauoa Elementary School, Principal (2012-2014)
- Niu Valley Middle School, Principal (2014-2018)
- Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area Superintendent (2018-present)
Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area Superintendent
I am honored to be able to work with an awesome group of principals and an awesome complex area staff. I can honestly stand on any stage and say that I have the best complex area in the world. I am proud to say that we do things for the right reasons and we take care of each other. We’re not like that because of me, but I’m proud to say I’m a part of that. Those are qualities that make this world a better place, and I’m proud to say that we model those qualities.
Public School Proud
I choose to work in the public school system because I wholeheartedly believe in the work that we do. I believe that you can be liberated by education in the public school system. Public schools provide the rigor to challenge all students and provide an inclusive, heterogeneous environment to honor the similarities and differences of all students. Developing the academic skills, along with empathy and understanding for those who are different from you, are necessary skills to navigate a future career as well as the world around us.
2023 COEAA Distinguished Alumnus
It is an honor to receive this recognition from my alma mater. I believe strongly in our schools and the talent being developed through our system. Every educational institution comes with its own unique set of challenges and my motivation has always been to be solution-oriented and take action to create opportunities for growth. I have a vested interest in ensuring the success of our students and teachers as all three of my children attended public schools and my wife has dedicated her career to enriching the lives of students attending Dole Middle School.
Three Fun Facts
- I started growing orchids about four years ago and now have over 200 orchids! I really enjoy it and have come to realize that every orchid is already perfect in its own way, just like our students.
- I am a Michigan Wolverine fan because I was born in Michigan and we moved back to Hawaiʻi when I was 1 year old. I’m the only person in my entire family from my great-grandparents to my kids who was not born in Hawaiʻ
- I’m a Chicago Bears fan. Hoping we have something to cheer about next season!