Urasaki ready to take the helm at Hilo High

  • STEPHANIE SALMONS/Tribune-Herald Jasmine Urasaki starts as principal of Hilo High School on Tuesday, replacing former Principal Bob Dircks, who retired in December.

Hilo High School will have a new leader come Tuesday.

Jasmine Urasaki takes the helm, replacing former Principal Bob Dircks, who retired in December.


Born and raised in Hilo, Urasaki is a 1988 graduate of Waiakea High School, where, until Friday, she was an assistant principal.

After attending college on the mainland, Urasaki said she came back to her alma mater and taught math for nine years before becoming a school administrator.

After teaching, Urasaki said she served as vice principal at Waiakea High and principal at Hilo Union School and Waiakea Elementary before returning to Waiakea High about six years ago.

“And now I get to be a Viking,” she said with a laugh.

“For me, I think it’s a challenge, and it’s a way for me to grow more as a person,” she said of her new role.

Urasaki said she likes working in high schools — the activities, athletics and other extracurriculars.

“And in terms of the education, the academic parts, I think high school is easier. The light is at the end of the tunnel. The kids can see the light. They just got four years, and then they’re on their way. So I like seeing the students develop, mature, and then be well on their way with their own lives … .”

Because she’s only known Waiakea High, Urasaki said she’s excited to learn about Hilo High.

“And what I know of Hilo High, and what I’m attracted to, is their strong pride, their strong Viking pride,” she said.

Urasaki said she wants to learn more about “all the good things the school is doing,” and form relationships with the staff, students, families and the community, “because I think that’s key. I think that’s important. …”

Urasaki lives in Hilo with her husband and two teenage daughters and is co-guardian of a special needs cousin.


Dircks said he has known Urasaki for a number of years “and I think she’ll do really well.”

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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