The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) named its 2020 and 2021 Employee and Team of the Year award winners, recognizing employees for their outstanding and continued contributions to education and the students of Hawai‘i.
“The past two years have been uniquely challenging and our students and school communities greatly benefited from the unwavering dedication and commitment of our school support, cafeteria and custodial staff,” said Superintendent Keith Hayashi. “From running grab-and-go meal services, to sanitizing facilities and preparing school packets for students, these employees definitely went above and beyond to help our students and families. These are often the teams of humble employees working hard behind the scenes and I’m grateful that we were able to spotlight them here today.”
Robert Suphan Jr. was named HIDOE’s 2020 Employee of the Year. Robert has worked at Kalaheo High School as an Educational Assistant for the past 14 years. He supports students every day by helping them with their academics and social emotional well-being before, during and after school — sometimes all the way into the evening hours. He is dependable and always willing to help whether it be taking photos at events, supporting the Student Government, helping the athletics department, chaperoning events, and providing support to classrooms, wherever need be. He is a great asset to Kalaheo High School, bringing much compassion to the school’s staff, students and overall community.
The Kaiulani Elementary School Custodial Team was named HIDOE’s 2020 Team of the Year. The team was recognized for their commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for all students. They are regularly seen greeting students at the beginning and end of the day, helping to direct traffic, and volunteering to pitch in whenever and wherever the school may be short-handed. When the school built an enclosed butterfly garden to supplement science curriculum, the custodial team meticulously took care of the garden to ensure that it flourished for the students. Beyond caring for the facilities, they even took the initiative getting their head custodian trained in working with students that exhibit challenging or dangerous behavior so that they could better support students on campus.
The team includes Maple Kim, Bernard Louis, Jaime Ramoran and Michael Woo.
The Mililani Middle School Custodial Team was named HIDOE’s 2021 Team of the Year. Despite the many impromptu support tasks that were brought on by the pandemic, the Mililani Middle School Custodial team effortlessly united to meet all needs and expectations of the school. As the largest middle school in the state that operates on a year-round multi-track calendar, the custodial staff does not have a typical summer month to dedicate to the maintenance of facilities. This was especially challenging during the pandemic, when preparing for the safe return of students to the classroom. The team worked meticulously to ensure the highest standards of health and safety so that all students and staff felt safe returning to campus. Overall, their dedication and contributions to the school’s conditions, environment and operations has made a positive impact on student attendance, achievement and behavior.
The team includes Felicidad Albrecht, Reuben Billaber, Reuben Roy Billaber, Jaime Carino, Artemio Lloren, Myrna Lloren, Rolando Panahon, and Rolando Pascua.
The event also recognized the outstanding efforts of the following HIDOE employees and teams:
2020 Team Excellence Award of Merit
- Ewa Makai Middle School Counselors
Emi Ancog, Chad Mahoe, Samantha Nakamoto, Marc Nishimitsu, Emily Oandasan, and Megan Rigos
- Helemano Elementary School Support Team
Samantha Campollo, Mark Freitas, Radford Fujioka, Julie Kazama, Donna Langsi, Renee Long, Jane Pascua, Dominador Sabug, Leslie Sonido, Joy Yamashige, Devie Nakamura, and Gary Hashimoto
- Iao Intermediate School Custodial Staff
Danilo Castillo, Reuben Hodge, Nicanor Inosanto, Leonardy Javier, Diane Pacheco, Anorlito Renon, and Charlene Solomon-Kepani
- Kalaheo High School Cafeteria Team
Alfred Kahana, Kimberlee Nakoa, and Justina Soon
- Kalani High School Student Support Team
Kristie-Ann Araki, Roanne Yogi, and Jill Yamauchi
- Nanakuli Elementary School Educational Assistants
Kezia Ah Sui, Justine Cafa, Preciouskuuip Iopa, Dorothy-Alice Ishikawa, Bernadine Kaeha, Renee Kia-Cox, Alice Kapoi, Patricia Koa, and Tracyly Swinson2021 Team Excellence Award of Merit
- De Silva Elementary School Superbee Office Team
Shirley Ann Lee Hong, Joy Nakamoto, and Lisa Ann Vierra
- Nanaikapono Elementary School Cafeteria Team
Corie Freitas, Jonathan Kipi, Raquel McCabe, Kamakanoenoeokalani Miner, Vicky Nakasone-Pagaoa, Lisa Thomas, Dawn Williams, and Guy Yap
- Kapolei High School Cafeteria Team
Leticia Arnold, Denise Huth, Hanah Kapea, Luwana Moniz, David Rasmuseen, Kevin Sano, and Jayde Tai
- Waihe’e Elementary School Cafeteria Team
Lee Ann Agabin, Emily Aricayos, Dana-Lee Hamasaki, Elaine Kahalewai, Maxine Leleo-Jacintho, and Elaine Nakashima