Keiki soars with Golden Hawks

New Assistant Principal has connections to students


Jasmine Kamanaʻo

New NHIS Assistant Principal Jerri Keiki has a connection with students from Nanaikapono Elementary where she served as Vice Principal for over 10 years.

Jasmine Kamanaʻo

After teaching and being a Vice Principal at Nānāikapono Elementary for over ten years, Jerri Keiki has replaced Diana Agor as a Nānākuli High and Intermediate School 9th and10th-gradee Assistant Principal.

The Assistant Principal opened up when Diana Agor transferred to Ewa Makai Middle School to be closer to home and NHIS Principal Darin Pilialoha offered the position to Keiki.

“I felt very privileged about that because one of the vice principals had left for another school and they asked me if I wanted to help out.  I went home, I talked to my family, I considered and I took the offer, so that’s why I am here,” said Keiki.

Keiki feels a bond with the students in the valley.

“I’ve been a vice principal for over ten years down at Nānāikapono Elementary School before I came up here. So I’ve been in the community for over thirty years and I feel very connected to helping out the kids here. I know they can do it. My own kids went through the system and they’re successful because of the support,” said Keiki.

Keiki has specific expectations for students.

“I’m expecting them to learn. I’m expecting them to see themselves in the future as an adult, so I want to help them get ready for that. I am expecting a lot. I also going to support whatever I can to help them to get there and meet their goals.”

Keiki has a way to connect herself to the students and put herself in their shoes.

“So I’m going to go and check out classes. I’m going to just learn a whole lot. I’m going to go into different classrooms. I cover grades 9 and 10. So I’m going to be busy in classes just to see what they are learning,” said Keiki.

Keiki has already gained the trust of some students who knew her from Nānāikapono Elementary School.

“She is one of my mom’s friends. When I was in elementary she helped me a lot through most of my problems in school and if I had a problem she would always handle it. If I needed anyone to talk to, I usually talk to her and she would help me out,” said 7th grader Danielle Jose.

Current seventh grader, Michelle Gapuz was also a student from Nānāikapono who was familiar with Keiki.

“She was very nice. She was very happy and joyful. She is always making sure that everyone is okay during school. She had good things to say, like quotes to get us motivated and energized during class.” said Gapuz.

Keiki tries to offer as much as she can but like everyone, she faces challenges.

“Oh everyday, there are always challenges. There are challenges on how you work with children, there are challenges on how you can help them grow, there are challenges on how you can work with teachers to help the kids learn,” said Keiki.

But Keiki knows that being an administrator comes down to one thing.

“Everything is about the kids. That’s Mr. Pilialoha’s philosophy, that’s my philosophy. We do things in the best interest of the kids.”   

Despite the challenges, Keiki feels pleased by working with students.

“I like it. It’s a new experience. I’m learning about the kids I already know, because they’ve changed. They’re grown up. You know, everybody changed. It’s a new environment, it’s new learning, and so everyday is a new day of learning for me,” said Keiki.

Keiki has an open policy with the students and how they’re able to talk to her about anything, Keiki additionally has another way of making sure the students are able to keep in contact with her.

“I also have a bunch of post-its in my box. So if they want to leave a note, they can leave a note with the clerk and the clerk can put it in my box,” said Keiki.

Transition to High School and Health teacher Geraldine Moniz feels like Keiki is the right person for the job.

“Oh she’s very friendly and I have faith that she will get the job done. I just observe her and how she handled things at the elementary. I just have the confidence that she will be able to do the job,” said Moniz.