Principal Keith Hayashi has been leading Waipahu High School in becoming a standout national model academy high school. Under Hayashi’s leadership since 2009, Waipahu High has achieved the highest level of national recognition for its six career academies.
On January 14, 2021, the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE) held a groundbreaking ceremony for Waipahu High’s new Integrated Career Academy Learning Center. Attendees included Governor David Ige and Senator Michelle Kidani who spoke about the tremendous efforts of the faculty and staff along the road to this new building, which will be completed in mid-2022.
Master of Education in Teaching (MEdT) Chair Jon Yoshioka said, “Principal Hayashi is a humble, visionary leader who is the epitome of an agent of change. He has a rare gift of making both the people and the things around him better and is a role model for what we want our COE students to be. It is a pleasure to work with Principal Hayashi and his amazing faculty and staff, and we hope to continue that relationship for many years to come.”
Hayashi, who earned a BEd in Elementary Education, MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, and MEd in Educational Administration from the College of Education (COE), says the center is the result of his school’s commitment to creating rigorous and relevant learning opportunities and connections for all students.
“Educational leaders at Waipahu High worked collaboratively to expand on various ideas and experiences in determining how to best prepare our students for life after high school,” Hayashi stated. “Our focus is our College and Career Academy Design. The learning center will further expand and deepen student learning within two of our school’s academies – the Academy of Natural Resources (ANR), and the Academy of Professional and Public Services (APPS).”
The ANR’s focus will be on innovative agricultural systems, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence in vertical farming for natural resource production and plant biotechnology. The APPS will feature Waipahu’s award-winning culinary program, the Marauder Cafe, and will partner with ANR to integrate new product development, business, entrepreneurship and hospitality. The school’s Academy of Arts and Communication (AAC) will also support these efforts through their audio engineering technology, graphic communication, and multimedia technology pathways.
“Keith is an exemplary school leader with a focus on innovation, community engagement, and providing outstanding educational programs for students,” Educational Administration Chair Ronald Heck added.
All six of Waipahu High’s academies will utilize the second floor resources in the learning center for Design Thinking and STEM to address authentic community and industry issues. The goal for students in the academies is to make systems connections; strengthen a sense of purpose; leverage higher education opportunities; and earn credentials in high skill, high wage, in-demand, and future-focused careers in Hawaiʻi.
“Professor Emeritus Donald Young was instrumental in both my undergraduate and graduate learning at the COE,” Hayashi shared. “He and other knowledgeable and friendly faculty members have provided numerous opportunities and support for me not only as a student, but also throughout my career as a teacher and principal. Waipahu High is fortunate to partner as a Professional Development School enhancing pre-service and in-service teacher professional learning through the efforts of COE Dean Nathan Murata, Dr. Jon Yoshioka, Dr. Vail Matsumoto, Mr. Aaron Levine, among others. Mahalo for all that you do to support quality teacher education in Hawaiʻi.”