Kadena ES History

Opened: 1954

Kadena Elementary School, grades one through five, opened for the 1954-55 school year and is located on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. This became the second permanent government building designed as a school for school year 1964-65. The school was similar to the school at Zukaren Elementary School (Sukiran). Even with the permanent facility, due to increased enrollment it was necessary to put some grades in temporary quarters. Kadena Elementary School was the first school opened by the Air Force. During that school year, grades second through sixth were at the school. In 1959, the school had grades three through six. In 1963, nineteen additional classrooms were completed, and the school still had grades three through five.  In 1968, kindergartens were added to the school. Under construction during 1969-70 were new classroom additions which were opened during the 1970-71 school year. For the 1971-72 school year the school had grades three and four. The completion of a wing of new classrooms was finished for the 1972-73 school year. In 1975-76, the school had grades one through four. Kadena Elementary opened a brand new 21st century school in 2018.  The 'old' Kadena Elementary was torn down and replaced with a new school that will replace Bob Hope and AEIS.

Opening its doors at the legacy location in 1954, Kadena Elementary moved to its new location in February of 2018. The school is a state of the art, 21st Century School which cover 194,000 square feet and caters up to 800 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Learning spaces are organized around neighborhoods with open-concept classrooms with flexible and multi-use furniture which allows for meaningful technology integration and collaborative learning.

KDES considers itself a neighborhood school despite its size, with the majority of students living in the surrounding neighborhoods who walk to school, and with bus service to the Chibana, Sunabe, and Chatan Port areas. The students and families represent a culturally and ethnically diverse population which is commensurate with the general military population.

A fully outfitted information center (library) is well stocked with fiction and non-fiction collections. The media center also has a robust catalog of online books, resources, and reference materials for use in the school and remotely. The school has a large gymnasium and an auxiliary gym along with a large cafeteria with a stage. In addition, KES has a large performance space for ceremonies, trainings, and community events. These spaces allow the scheduling of simultaneous activities.

The Kadena Elementary School mascot is Sushi the Angel Fish. At Kadena Elementary they say, “Once a Sushi, always a Sushi!”

For the 2020-21 school year the KDES faculty comprises over eighty-two professional level staff members, including full-time teachers, specialists, and administrators, with an additional forty-plus paraprofessionals and office staff members for support and supervision. Seventy-three percent of the professional staff and teachers possess advance educational degrees. The turnover among the professional teaching staff is low to moderate for a DoDEA school of this size, averaging between 5–15 reassignments per school year.



Information from dissertation by Harold Clifford Brown, 1981; and the school website


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