The Education Division of Chaminade University announced Elton N. Kinoshita MED ’13 as its inaugural recipient for The Kathy Kawaguchi Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership.

Kinoshita, who serves the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) as the principal of Lana’i High and Elementary School, humbly accepted the award and recalled how much of an inspiration Katherine Kawaguchi had been for him. He first met Kawaguchi when he chose to transfer from the graduate program at the University of Hawaii to the Chaminade Educational Leadership program. “I heard the Chaminade program was rigorous, and I wanted to learn as much as I could,” he recalled telling her.

Kinoshita was accepted and worked hard to successfully achieve his master’s degree in Educational Leadership. “Toward the end of the program, she asked me if my wish for rigor had been fulfilled. We both laughed as I told her ‘yes’, and that I was completely satisfied with the program and my decision to transfer to Chaminade,” he wrote. “I am so thankful for completing the Chaminade Educational Leadership program as the knowledge that I gained has helped me in my role as principal.”

Kawaguchi recently passed away, but her impact on educators, on the DOE, and on Chaminade and its students continues.

“I will do everything I can to live out the charge for recipients of this award: serving as a stellar role model, exemplary leader and dedicated mentor who will guide with intelligence and integrity,” said Kinoshita.