HIDOE names 2015 Employee and Team of the Year


HIDOE recognized key employees and teams for their outstanding contributions to Hawaii's public school students. Pearl Ridge Elementary's Andrew Lagapa was named Employee of the Year and the Kailua Intermediate Science & Engineering Dept. was named Team of the Year.

​​​​​​​​​​​HONOLULU - The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) named its 2015 Employee and Team of the Year award winners today, recognizing employees for their special and continued contributions to HIDOE and the students of Hawaii.  

“All of our winners and nominees have shown outstanding commitment to education in Hawaii and have given so much to our students,”said Kathryn Matayoshi, HIDOE Superintendent.  “Their hard work and dedication is reflected in student achievement and improved learning environments at our schools.”

Pearl Ridge Elementary’s Andrew Lagapa (click for photo) was named HIDOE’s 2015 Employee of the Year for his tireless work ethic and continued devotion to the school’s students.  Lagapa has served as a school custodian for 16 years and was praised for his initiative in recognizing and correcting maintenance issues before they became significant problems.  He was credited with coordinating pest control measures on the school’s play field after a red ant infestation threatened the school-wide “Hustle For Health”event, where students participate in morning exercises to collect funds for intramural, physical education (PE) and music programs.  Lagapa was able to organize his custodial team members and address the infestation prior to the event.  

Lagapa also routinely provides minor mechanical repairs to help maintain the school’s air conditioning units, allowing the school to hire repair contractors only when necessary, minimizing the effects of uncomfortable classroom temperatures and saving maintenance funds.  In coordination with the teaching staff, Lagapa also volunteered to lead both the 6th grade volleyball and basketball teams for morning and afternoon practices during a period when the school did not have a full-time PE teacher.

Kailua Intermediate’s Science and Engineering Department was named HIDOE’s 2015 Team of the Year for their systematic and coordinated teaching approach.  Across all 7th and 8th grade science classes, the team uses a uniform regimen that stresses information management, note taking and the use of interactive notebooks to teach students to be organized and effective in both learning and time management skills.  

The science department’s efforts have created a hands-on learning environment that gives students opportunities to develop their skills in science, technology, engineering and math.  More than 60 students are members of the school’s LEGO robotics team, 30 are part of the marine biology club and 18 female students recently spent a day at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Engineering where they met with aeronautical and medical engineers and were introduced to medical robotics technology.  Students are also participating in Malama Honua, the worldwide voyage of the Hokulea, with 7th graders tying topics of ecosystems and sustainability to the voyage and 8th graders learning about non-instrument navigation in the “Polynesian Voyaging: Science in the Pacific”curriculum. 

As a result of the Science and Engineering Department’s enthusiasm, Kailua Intermediate’s science proficiency on the state assessment rocketed from 34 to 51 points in one year and the school earned state recognition at the Hawaii Science and Engineering Fair with four student projects advancing to the state level, one earning first place overall in computer sciences and one earning first place overall in physics and astronomy.  The science department is comprised of teachers (photo from left to right) Kimberly Tangaro, Douglas Howe, Emily Bayne, Catherine Walton, Ryan Kagami, and Steven “French”Clark. 

Lagapa and the Kailua Intermediate Science and Engineering Department will represent HIDOE in the upcoming annual Governor’s Awards for Distinguished State Service ceremony. 

Today’s event also recognized the outstanding efforts of the following HIDOE employees and teams:

Sustained Superior Performance Award

  • Carlos Dias, School Custodian, Ewa Makai Middle School, Leeward District
  • Nalani Kahele-Aga, School Health Aide, Princess Victoria Kaiulani Elementary School, Honolulu District
  • Bryan J. Rodrigues, School Custodian, Kula Elementary School, Maui District

Team Excellence Award of Merit

  • Ewa Makai Middle School Physical Education Department: Gregg Agena, Jan Combs, Scott Yorimoto
  • Haleiwa Elementary School Leadership Support Team: Nami-Anne Dolan, Janine Mikasa, Ernest Pai, Pam Yamakawa
  • Kihei Elementary School Office Team: Donagene dela Nux, Dori Kunishige, Lisa Sakugawa, Dianne Yamada
  • Lunalilo Elementary School Hui Malama Honua: Phyllis Golding, Wendy Gonsalves, Gerald Kolbeck, Jaime Sato, Ann Tamashiro, Eileen Uchima
  • Professional Development & Educational Research Institute, Clerical Support Team: Lisa Asato, Dianne Imamura, Lynne Kekauoha, Michael Nomura

Please click here for a full event handout.

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: donalyn_dela_cruz@hawaiidoe.org


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