HONOLULU -- The Hawaii State Department of Education today presented its Employee of the Year award to Donna Therrien, a former district support teacher whose educator effectiveness training has served as a model for the state. The Kaala Elementary Food Services Team took the DOE’s Team of the Year award for its dedication to shaping positive student behaviors and serving nutritious meals.
Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe and Hawaii State Board of Education member Amy Asselbaye honored four employees and team nominees at the DOE Incentive and Service Awards held at the state Capitol auditorium. The program recognizes employees who have made special and continued contributions to improve the quality and effectiveness of Hawaii's public school system.
"The dedication and professionalism of these exemplary employees inspire all of us to always strive high to do our very best for Hawaii’s students and their families," said Superintendent Matayoshi. "They have played critical roles in our ongoing transformation aimed at ensuring all students are equipped to succeed in college and careers."
In the 2012-13 school year, Therrien (pictured) took it upon herself to provide educator effectiveness training for teachers in all 16 schools in the Castle-Kahuku complex area. Her professional development sessions covered all key components of the teacher observation protocol and helped participants implement strategies to boost student achievement.
Therrien has also assisted in the DOE’s transition to the Common Core State Standards. She rewrote the English language arts Common Core shifts with detailed instructional strategies to help educators. Capturing best practices from kindergarten to grade 12, Therrien inspired teachers with videos, lessons and student work captured in Hawaii’s public schools.
A National Board Certified teacher, Therrien also mentored candidates pursuing Board certification by providing feedback on written portfolios, videotaping and reviewing lessons. Outside of work, she serves as a board member of the Aikahi Elementary School Community Council, where she continues to share resources and solutions to improve student achievement. Therrien is currently working as an administrator at Hawaii Technology Academy Public Charter School.
The six-member Kaala Food Services team works seamlessly to provide meals to some 450 students, 75 staff members as well as children enrolled in the Head Start Program. The team, whose members include Arleen Asato, Derna Duarte, Pearla Kesolei, Kaiulani Kinoshita, Susie Lee and Georgette Ralar, helps engage parents and support student achievement with their involvement in over 38 community activities, including an evening Read Aloud Program.
For the past three school years, the team has provided new food experiences to students through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. About 85 percent of Kaala students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and nutritious meals are critical to meet student’s basic needs and prepare them to learn.
The Kaala Food Services team also plays a key role toward improving facilities through the School Safety Committee and the Annual School Inspection Program.
Therrien and the Kaala Food Services team will represent the DOE in the annual Governor’s Award for Distinguished State Service in October.
Today’s event also recognized the outstanding efforts of the following DOE employees and teams:
Sustained Superior Performance Award
• Susan Harper, Curriculum Coordinator and Success for All Facilitator, Makawao Elementary, Maui District.
• Catherine L. Kaide, School Food Service Manager, Hilo Union Elementary, Hawaii District.
• Daralyn Ramos, Personnel Regional Office Clerk, Central District Office, Office of Human Resources.
Team Excellence Award of Merit
• Makawao Elementary Cafeteria Staff, Maui District: Stephanie Bayne, Sandra Calasa, Tiffany Calasa, Kwi Ae Esquibel, Phyllis Freitas, Antoinette Robinson, Nancy Shimabukuro, Ashley Waipa.
• School Administrative Services Assistant Academy Team, Office of Fiscal Services: Cindi Ahuna, Curtis Chang, Adele Chong, Kevin Drake, Erin Ebisuya, Earlyne Harada, Scott Jeffrey, Miki Kamimura, Tammy Keller, Lynn Kitaoka, Karie Klein, Rie Kodama, Gail Morimoto, Gail Nakaahiki, Elden Nakamura, Frances Pitzer, May Price, Lawrence Suan, Coleen Tanaka, Adri Wilson, Tracy Yoshikane.
• Waianae Complex Student Services Coordinators, Oahu District: Kelly Kalinowsky, Grace Lorenzo, Kathy Mitchell, Gail Nakao, Mary Stamps, Mariko Thompson, and Kristy Wagatsuma.
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. Hawaii’s public school system was established in 1840 by King Kamehameha III. To learn more, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.