COE Alumna and Retired HIDOE Principal

Thelma Nip

“In these pandemic times, our lives have been challenged. We must discover new ways and methods of teaching effectively.”


Hilo, HI


Educational Administration

COE Degrees
Professional Teaching Certificate
Professional Administration Certificate

What positions have you held in the DOE/COE?
I have been a COE Alumni Association member since 1986. I served on the Board of Directors for six years, and I was the President for three years. I was with the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) for 30 years as an elementary school teacher, then vice-principal, and finally principal. Before retirement, I served as the Kaimukī High School Principal for 11 years.

Pu‘uhale Elementary
Lanakila Elementary

Lanakila Elementary
Central Intermediate
‘Ilima Intermediate
Honowai Elementary
Jarrett Intermediate

Jarrett Intermediate
Kailua Intermediate
Kalani High
Kaimukī High

How did you become interested in the field of education?
My dad was a great advocate of education and firmly believed that teaching was an honorable profession, especially for women. During my early school years, my teachers were my inspiration.

What have you been doing post-retirement?
I chaired the Governor’s Hawai‘i Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse and Controlled Substance for six years, tutored at an elementary school, and was a judge assistant for the Annual Honolulu Speech Festival for twelve years. I was the parliamentarian for the Associated Chinese University Women, moderator for the Community Church of Honolulu, advisor to Hawai‘i State Alpha Delta Kappa, and chair of the Scholarship Committee for Kong Chow Benevolent Society. Since 2000, I have been Director of UH Alumni Association.

What advice would you give to students considering enrollment in the COE?
Enrolling in our College of Education will give you the opportunity to acquire skills that will help you make a direct impact on the lives of children who are our future. It is a fulfilling career knowing that you had the opportunity of making a difference and changing lives.

What are your hopes for the future of education?
In these pandemic times, our lives have been challenged. We must discover new ways and methods of teaching effectively. More than ever, there will be educators skilled with creativity and dedication to assist students reach their full potential in their field of choice.

How do you propose alumni/retirees support the COE? How do you propose the COE engage its alumni/retirees?
Efforts of support include holding workshops for new teachers, forming study groups in seeking new ways to educate our students, funding scholarships, and participating in lobbying when necessary to reach our goals.

Any other activities or honors you would like to mention?
I was the 1989 Secondary Principal of the Year, 2000 COEAA Distinguished Alumna, 2001 UH Inaugural Golden Scholar, and 2004 UHAA Distinguished Alumna.

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