Department names 2017 Employee and Team of the Year


HIDOE named its 2017 Employee and Team of the Year award winners, recognizing employees for their special and continued contributions to education and the students of Hawaii.

HONOLULU - The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) named its 2017 Employee and Team of the Year award winners today, recognizing employees for their special and continued contributions to education and the students of Hawaii. 

"Each of our awardees is motivated by a profound dedication to our students and they have performed outstanding work at our schools," said Dr. Christina Kishimoto, HIDOE Superintendent.  "Our student successes are founded upon the hard work of our employees and these awards recognize only a small fraction of our collective efforts."

Olomana School's Rene Iwamoto, School Health Aide, was named HIDOE's 2017 Employee of the Year.  Iwamoto has been a state employee for 27 years and is cherished by her students, faculty, staff and parents as "Aunty Rene." In this challenging school environment, she bridged the gap between the school and the community by encouraging and increasing parental involvement in the school's 'Ohana nights.  Her gentleness and constancy have redefined her role at the school as not only a health aide, but also as an event planner, extra hand, Parent Community Network Center coordinator, counselor and trusted friend.

The Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School Custodial Team was named HIDOE's 2017 Team of the Year. This all-purpose team is ready with tools to perform building repairs, gardening, cleaning and all manner of maintenance needs.  Showing great initiative, the team has conducted campus visits to other schools to learn different techniques and share knowledge with other custodial teams.  Their efficiency and ingenuity has helped to reduce future cleaning time and replacement costs.

The team is comprised of seven members: Jessie Cardenas, Schuyler Castellano, Moises Lopez, Randall Naki, Terence Omori, Jose Senas and Maria Villanueva.

Iwamoto and the Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School Custodial Team will represent HIDOE in the upcoming annual Governor's Awards ceremony for Distinguished State Service.

Today's event also recognized the outstanding efforts of the following HIDOE teams:

Team Excellence Award of Merit

  • Speech & Language Pathologists, Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area:
    Sommer Aumiller, Richard Beilke, Loretta Brem, Cierra Crowe, Valerie Donnalson, Christina Gonzalez, Lueann Kessler, Janel Merritt, Jill Mutch, Sue Lee, Laurie Norman, Emma Pognant, Barbara Rolph, Eve-Noel Uaiwa, Jenna Nakama, Janine Williams, Tami Yamamura
  • Nanakuli Elementary School Custodial Staff:
    Debbie Chun, Jon Damas, Eathan Jones, Lenora Jones, Perry Kainoa, Roy Kainoa, Colbert Kaio, Douglas Ned
  • Olomana School Transformation Team:
    Doralyn Adams, Colin Awa, Matthew Bunyan, Wima Chulakote, Sheri Dennis, Tulifau Esene, Elizabeth Frilles, Joseph Haili, Debbie Heyler, Lester Higa, Davin lnamine, Nicole Ilae, Jennifer Ishida, Barbara Kiakona, Ilikea Maiava, Vernon McMillian, Thomas Moon, Del Onaga, Maheswary Post, Ellen Schroeder, John Secreto, Elizabeth Silva, Natalie Sur, Amber Williams

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232



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