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June 7, 2019
The Pastor of St. Joseph Church in Hilo, Father Wilbert Laroga, recently announced the hire of Mr. Michael Pa’ekukui as the new principal of St. Joseph School for school year 2019-2020. He will succeed Dr. Llewellyn Young who, after his five years as principal, was recently appointed as the associated superintendent for Hawaii Catholic Schools.
"I am very happy that we found someone to help St. Joseph School continue to grow and thrive,” Father Wilbert said. “While we will miss Dr. Young and his leadership as he moves to his new position, we welcome Mr. Pa'ekukui with all his knowledge and experience to help St. Joseph School continue its strong legacy in the Hilo community."
Dr. Young also commented, “Mr. Pa’ekukui comes with an impressive background which I believe will help St. Joseph School flourish. He is passionate about Catholic education and understands the mission of Catholic schools. He is also extremely innovative and creative, and he possesses strong skills as an administrator. I’m confident that his background along with his deep understanding of Hawaii culture and customs will serve our school and community well!”
Originally from Oahu, Pa’ekukui attended Windward Community College and the University of Hawaii for his undergraduate degrees in Liberal Arts and Spanish respectively. He received his master’s degree in Education specializing in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University in Arizona.
Mr. Pa’ekukui is currently the Dean of Personalized Learning at St. Louis School on Oahu, and he held numerous administrative positions in the past. He served a principal, vice principal, and teacher of Cathedral Catholic Academy during his tenure from 2002 through 2016. As principal, Mr. Pa’ekukui was recognized for creating the first fully project-based Catholic school in Hawaii. He also has experience in designing preschool curricula and serving as a master teacher and 21st Century technology trainer. He has a passion for the arts as an actor, singer, and musician and has been with the Honolulu Community Theater Productions for almost thirty years.
“He is highly respected in the Catholic education community, and he is a person of strong faith and devotion to the Church. I know that his expertise in administration, curriculum development, and technology will help take St. Joseph School to the next level of innovation and still hold true to the values, principles, and traditions we all hold dear. I’m very excited for the school and the Hilo community at large,” Young said.
Mr. Pa’ekukui will assume his new duties and responsibilities as principal of St. Joseph School on July 1.