The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) named its 2019 Employee, Manager and Team of the Year award winners, recognizing employees for their outstanding and continued contributions to education and the students of Hawai‘i.
“Our students’ success is founded on the tireless efforts and dedication of our employees who are committed to student success. It’s important to take every opportunity to spotlight the people behind the great work that’s happening at our schools,” said Superintendent Kishimoto. “From daily lunch preparation to the implementation of Department-wide initiatives, the work of our employees guide the progress of public education in Hawaii and these awards recognize only a small fraction of our collective efforts.”
Iris Ha, a 26-year HIDOE veteran and school administrative services assistant at Stevenson Middle School, was named HIDOE’s 2019 Employee of the Year. From administrative duties and fiscal acumen to her understanding of HIDOE rules, regulations, policies and procedures, Iris ensures her school runs smoothly and that all day-to-day operations are completed on schedule. Perhaps the greatest indicator of her importance to her teams is by how often questions are answered with the response, “You gotta ask Iris.”
Jason Locke, school custodian at Ewa Makai Middle School, was named HIDOE’s 2019 Manager of the Year. Jason is affectionately known to Ewa Makai students and staff as the “Manager of the Universe.” His role in the school and community go way beyond his day-to-day custodial responsibilities, earning him the honor to many as the “hardest working employee on campus.” He volunteers his time coaching after-school sports, spends his weekends making sure the campus is in top shape, and is also a leader in the Ewa Beach community.
The Na Hopena A'o Kanoelani Team was named HIDOE’s 2019 Team of the Year. Last year, when Kanoelani Elementary was tasked with hosting the 2nd Annual Choose Love Conference — an event that works to combat school violence through bringing social and emotional learning opportunities to the classroom — this team of outstanding individuals volunteered to come together to make it happen. They coordinated and planned the 400-person event, working with businesses and private donors to secure over $30,000 in funding, all while juggling their daily work duties. The February 2019 event was a success and has been the recipient of critical acclaim throughout the community.
The team includes Elaine Shibuya, Cy Ohira, Iris Oshiro, Lily Miyamoto, Gerald Cabral, Anthony Cabiara and Lynne Suefuji.
Iris Ha, Jason Locke, and the Na Hopena A'o Kanoelani Team will represent HIDOE in the upcoming annual Governor’s Awards for Distinguished State Service among awardees from other state departments.
Today’s event also recognized the outstanding efforts of the following HIDOE employees and teams:
Sustained Superior Performance Award
- Mary Afoa, accounting clerk at Ewa Makai Middle School
- Traci Fujita, accounting operations specialist, Office of Fiscal Services
Team Excellence Award of Merit
- Ali'iolani Cafeteria Department
- Shawn Wada, Renee Urata and Sally Kumashiro.
- Chiefs of Staff for the Offices of Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent
- Camille Masutomi and Sandy Goya.
- Ewa Makai Middle School Curriculum Coaches
- Dr. Shannon Kam, LeeAnn Manuel and Christine Routon.
- Office of Fiscal Services, Payroll Department
- Don Chinen, Stuart Uyeda, Nolan Yonekura, Ruth Hapai, Jasmine Chang, Stacy Chang, Martha Ching, Mary Elaine Domingo, Charles Gilmour, Gary Hosaka, Heidi Jacobson, Ellen Kawakami, Jaclyn Kurata, Maylen Marquez, Lyanne Nakamura, Ryan Pastor, Jayme Wong, Kam Chow Chan, Glenn Lee and Mary Ellen Navalta.
- Mokapu Elementary Cafeteria Team
- Robby Shimokawa, Leina Daniel, Patricia Long, Crystalanne Lemapu and Ted Fujimoto.