School Leadership

WMS Names Janice English As Principal 

June 2018

WMS began its 16th year as a public conversion charter school on Aug. 7, 2018 with a new Principal – Ms. Janice English. A seasoned educator, Ms. English is, in fact, returning to WMS where she served as an instructional coach and then vice principal from 2013 to 2016.  Before coming to WMS, Ms. English had 20 years’ experience with teaching middle school science and math, and had also provided therapeutic and academic instruction for elementary special education students, and served as a student counselor.  In the year since leaving WMS, she worked at Waimea’s Parker School as a teacher creating inquiry-based lessons for science and also taught math and character education for an 8th grade advisory.

Ms. English has a BS in biology from Long Island University, a Masters in Educational Psychology from University of Arizona, teaching credentials from Ottawa University and educational leadership credentials from the University of Arizona. 

Ms. English was offered the Principal position after an extensive educational leadership search was conducted by the school’s not-for-profit local school board, Ho’okako’o Corporation (HC).  The search process involved all of the WMS faculty, staff, families, Local Advisory Panel (LAP), and community members who were invited to participate in meet-the-candidate interviews.

At the start of the recruiting process, HC’s Board Chair Joe Uno, HC Waimea board member Dr. Paul Nakayama, and HC Executive Director David Gibson met with WMS faculty, staff and Local Advisory Panel (LAP) to discuss school strengths, vision, challenges and priorities moving forward.  Priorities included academic growth for all coupled with “whole child” middle school best practices, and A continuing commitment to the school’s IKAIR core values -- ‘Ike (cultural connections and sense of place), Kaizen (trying to be better every day than the day before), Accountability, Integrity and Respect.  Schoolwide priorities also included incorporating 21st century STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/’Aina and Math) teaching and project-based learning in the school’s new $15 million 9-classroom Keaoakea STEAM Learning Center, and growing community partnerships and student mentoring. 

“I am honored to have been asked to re-join the school as Principal,” said Ms. English. “I have much aloha for the teachers and staff and am very aware of the good, caring work they are doing.  I also have come to love Waimea. There are so many exciting things happening at the school and in this community,” said Ms. English.

“Being a public conversion charter school has its challenges, but it gives us more flexibility to do what’ best for our students – to meet their needs and help them realize their dreams and aspirations.” 

"Middle school is a time of tremendous growth and change for students and this is magnified today by lightening-speed changes in technology and a rapidly evolving world and workplace," said Ms. English.  .

“We are talking with teachers, staff, LAP and families about this being a year of ‘refinement’ – and about working collaboratively to enhance programs already in place.  We are excited about the success of 8th grade student presentations of learning last year, called Family Ho’ike, which drew more than 90 percent of our 8th grade families, and want to expand these to 6th and 7th grades. 

We also will be adopting new curriculum including Next Generation Science Standards and we look forward to even closer ties with community partners such as Mala’ai school garden, Kahilu Theatre, 21st Century Community Learning Centers and major funders including Kamehameha Schools and the Neilan Foundation. 

“WMS recently received notice that we have been approved for a Career Connected Learning grant from Hawai’i Community Foundation, and we are also excited that the 2018 State Legislature authorized a $295,000 Grant In Aid to support STEAM technology for our students. We really needed this to more fully outfit our new STEAM Learning Center.”

“We need and welcome these partners and we thank them and also nearly 60 community volunteers who have been serving as WMS student mentors.  We want to ‘grow’ our mentoring program because we have seen it change lives,” she said. 

To call: 808-887-6090  

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WMS Local Advisory Panel (LAP) meets monthly - now virtually - to discuss school progress, climate, opportunities and challenges.  All meetings are open to all stakeholders.