Paul T. KobayashiPAUL T. KOBAYASHI Long-time educator and former principal of Leilehua High School and Wahiawa Community School, passed away quietly at his home in Wahiawa on January 26, 2014. He was 83. Kobayashi is remembered for his contributions to organizations such as the Hawaii Department of Education, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA), HGEA EO Unit 6, Hawaii Democratic Party, Wahiawa General Hospital, Hawaii Chapter of the National Football Foundation, and the Kunia Orchid Society. Below is a tribute written and presented by Aileen Hokama at the dedication of Leilehua High School's Paul T. Kobayashi Gymnatorium on December 16, 2006. In 1958, a young, idealistic Paul Kobayashi was assigned to Radford High School as a teacher. Thus began an auspicious career as an educator that would span 44 years and include unprecedented leadership as an Educational Specialist for the then OIS and for Leeward District. An innovative principal for Leilehua High School for 13 years. Three time president of the OIA. Groundbreaking work with the HGEA. Principal of the Wahiawa Community School for 23 years. A Commissioner on the WASC Board. In these authorized leadership positions and as the undeclared but true leader behind the scenes, Paul Kobayashi was a visionary whose fearless leadership would forever change the DOE landscape and the travel of all educational officers who would follow him. The DOE was still a youthful educational system when Paul Kobayashi earned his master's degree and began his educational career in 1958. At the time, Hawaii was immersed in its sometimes turbulent transition from a paternalistic plantation community to statehood. It was a time when its citizens in all institutions, including the DOE, were struggling to create opportunities to demonstrate their competence and capacity for leadership. These social forces shaped the philosophy and vision of Mr. Kobayashi and guided an educational career shaped by a strong belief in the inherent capacity of people, regardless of status, race or nationality, to become contributing leaders of their school and larger community. In 1972, in an interview in the Central Island News, Paul Kobayashi said, "In the final analysis, the school must meet the varying needs of the students they serve in terms of the changing dynamics and conditions replete in society today-and tomorrow-the threshold of the 21st century." This quest for dynamic education and the need to prepare students for a new century was clearly ahead of its time. Twenty years later, educators across the nation would rally around school renewal and preparation for a vastly different 21st century. As an educational leader, Paul Kobayashi traversed a sometimes solitary road, recognizing that true leadership includes personal sacrifice and the strength to withstand the pessimists, the cynics and the doubters afraid of change. Hugh Yoshida said it best: "Mr. Kobayashi's decisions may not always have been popular; but they were right for students." Paul Kobayashi made possible: Learning Option Time (LOT) that provided Leilehua's 3,000 students extended learning opportunities and time for professional development for teachers. He said at the time "the school cannot and should not be the sole provider of learning situations. The community institutions have much to offer; therefore, a mutual exposure will benefit both student and the community." 20 years later, the DOE would advocate community involvement with schools and the Parent Networking Centers. At Leilehua, Paul created an Instructional Council, Supportive Council, Co-Curricular Council and the School Community Council, who were charged with decision-making and problem-solving of school issues. Two decades later, the DOE would begin SCBM. He provided the necessary leadership in the formation of the Oahu Interscholastic Association by merging the members of the original ROIA and the public schools from the Interscholastic Association of Honolulu in 1970. Nay Sayers predicted this would be the demise of high school athletics. Paul Kobayashi was convinced that the creation of OIA would provide public school students with an even playing field where they could excel as athletes. He worked to have the OIA Game of the Week on television, filming public school athletes for the first time. Today, OIA is a strong and proud League offering the community the best of athletic contests and showcasing the talents of public school athletes. In 1973, he worked to establish the Hawaii Prep Bowl which has become an annual event for sport enthusiasts. His work with the HGEA helped to establish a union for the educational officers of Hawaii, ensuring that Hawaii residents would have equal access to principalships and the opportunity for us to shape our own destiny. He has mentored and guided an unbelievable number of educators and their work as educational leaders has assured that his positive and visionary influence continues in the Department of Education and in this state. The Leilehua Gymnatorium is symbolic of Paul Kobayashi. His work with community leaders and legislators provided the impetus for its construction. He assured that this Gymnatorium, with its second floor that includes a wrestling room, a huge stage and locker rooms, would be multi-functional and provide student athletes with exceptional facilities for practice and games. The gymnatorium was ahead of its time. It was a source of pride for this community. It remains a first class facility. It is "one-of-a-kind", never again to be replicated. It is Paul T. Kobayashi.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased