In a letter dated May 8, the Ho’okako’o Board, the governing board of Waimea Middle Public Charter School, announced to its ‘ohana that they have selected a new Principal for the 2012-2013 school year. Matt Horne will come from Ontario High School in Ontario, Oregon, to assume the new position on July 1.
According to the Ho’okako’o Board, Horne has a record of improving student achievement at both the elementary and high school levels.
Horne is replacing a beloved and longtime principal, John Colson, who was summarily ousted in February. Despite hundreds of community members pleading with the governing board members at a packed-house public meeting to restore Colson, the Board decided to stick with its decision. They did stress that Colson did nothing wrong and had done an exemplary job in the position. Colson is now working at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. After he was removed from his position, the Ho’okako’o Board appointed Lydia Trinidad from Kualapu’u Elementary School on Moloka’i as interim principal.
Two formal selection committees that included WMS faculty and members of the Waimea community identified Horne as the leading candidate. Student achievement and accountability were identified by WMS stakeholders as two of the most important issues facing the school in an online survey conducted by Ho’okako’o prior to beginning the application process for the position of Principal.
Horne is married, with a two- and a five-year old. In his letter on the Waimea Middle School website, Ho’okako’o Board Chair Keith Vierra noted that during the application process, Horne made a point of walking around town and exploring the community. He also said Horne checked the local farmers’ markets at the request of his wife.