HIDOE recognizes 2022 and 2023 Employee, Manager and Team of the Year

14-Mar-2024

​The Department named its 2022 and 2023 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.

​The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) named its 2022 and 2023 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.  

“We have incredible individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty of their service and are deserving of their recognition of employee and team awards,” said Superintendent Keith Hayashi. “Without them, we can’t do what we do, which is to support students in the classroom, which is our core mission.”

2024 ISAC - 2022 Employee of the YearKelsey Tsuhako was named HIDOE’s 2022 Employee of the Year. Kelsey has been the School Health Assistant at Mililani ‘Ike Elementary School for over 7 years. During the pandemic, families praised Kelsey for her commitment and dedication to the school and staff. She provided around the clock communication with families and staff to ensure that all were informed with the latest guidance and even made home visits to deliver work packets to students for families that were in quarantine. A certified medical assistant, Kelsey regularly attends training sessions to ensure that students receive the highest level of care. She worked with community partners to install the first AED at Mililani ‘Ike and helped to initiate training for all staff members. To ensure the health and safety of all students, Kelsey also coordinates staff-wide training for EPI pen administration, CPR, defibrillator usage and seizure response. 

2024 ISAC - 2022 Manager of the YearKevin Drake was named HIDOE’s 2022 Manager of the Year. Kevin is the Business Manager of the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Kūlanihāko‘i-Maui (BKKM) Complex Area, where he has worked for over 11 years, helping school administration teams with their fiscal responsibilities. In addition to supporting BKKM, he voluntarily also supports the Canoe Complex Area schools with their business needs. Colleagues overwhelmingly praise Kevin for his knowledge and patience. He is easily approachable,  and quick to provide guidance for any challenge or hurdle that a school might come across. The assistance that he has offered principals has positively impacted the overall operations of their schools in and in turn, has also made a positive impact on students. 

2024 ISAC - 2022 Team of the YearThe Campbell-Kapolei (CK) Complex Area School Support Staff was named HIDOE’s 2022 Team of the Year. The motto of this group of resource teachers and educational officers is “We exist to support our schools.” Over the past few years, the CK Support Team has been proactive in finding grant funding for schools and secured 4 to 5 million in grants for STEM, health occupations and literacy for Campbell-Kapolei schools. They’re always looking at ways to invent new opportunities for students and they generate a weekly newsletter of events that schools can attend and professional development opportunities for staff. They work closely with schools to survey needs and create learning programs to help address them. 

The team includes Charlene Abe, Manu Anana, Jaclyn Caffrey, Genevee Corpuz, Charles DeVille, Hope Espinda, Melody Habon, Danielle Himalaya, George Judson, Jessica Kato, Shauna Kililoi, Erica Lunasco, Lisa Martinez, Keith Matsumura, Stacie Nakamura, Lisa Ponce, Jerzelle Ruiz-Cabilao, Joy Suenishi and Michelle Suzuki.

Keith “Kane” Rodrigues was named HIDOE’s 2023 Employee of the Year. Kane has been the Head Custodian at ʻEwa Beach Elementary for over 2 years. He is highly respected by peers, staff, students and families for his unwavering care and dedication for the school facilities. In addition to keeping campus safe, clean and attractive, Kane responds to staff requests in a timely manner and makes sure that any facility issues are resolved quickly and completely. He also ensures that staff are aware of any facility challenges, renovations or maintenance. Kane’s colleagues describe him as always carrying a positive attitude and energy. He keeps the campus functioning and regularly displays his genuine care and compassion for all students and staff. 

2024 ISAC - 2023 Team of the YearThe Kalāheo High School Hoʻokamaʻaina Committee was named HIDOE’s 2023 Team of the Year. The Ho’okamaaina Committee aims to increase the students’ sense of belonging to Kalvheo, Kailua and Hawai’i. They helped to create the first permitted hale structure on a DOE campus. The hale was completed using traditional building techniques and over 1,000 volunteers helped to work on it. They worked with Paepae o He’eia, HIDOE’s Facilities branch, HIDOE’s Office of Hawaiian Education, the DPP, local lawmakers, the Kailua neighborhood board, military units at Marine Corps Base Hawai’i, students, families and community members. Last April, the hale, now called Kaleilenaokealoha opened to the school community and 55.5% of students reported that it increased their sense of belonging to the school. 

The team includes Laurel Bruce, Catherine Dichner, Carli Gardner, Tara Gumapac, Marie Lindsey, Elizabeth Martin, Kanoelehua Nakata, Micah Pregitzer, and Resha Ramolete.

The event also recognized the outstanding efforts of the following HIDOE employees and teams:

2022 Sustained Superior Performance Awards

  • Sherry Roberts-Tuscher, Secretary from the Office of Talent Management Employee Records and Transactions Section

2022 Team Excellence Award of Merit
  • Central District Carpentry Team
    Phillip Diones, William Crowell, Glen Oshiro, Edward Tangjian, Lionel Villarmia, and Carl Wilson
  • Keʻelikolani Middle School Office Team
    Carmen Fong, Tulipa Lene, Jace Lum Hoy, and Noe Paiva
  • Kīpapa Elementary Cafeteria and Custodial Team
  • Elden Ching, Janet Fujinaga, Saofai Gaopoa, Brandi Gismundo, Mylene Loo, Patlyn Maekawa, Sheila Prestosa, Rae Shinsato, and Brent Yonesaki


2023 Sustained Superior Performance Awards

  • Dina Cabral, School Security Attendant at Kalāheo High School


2023 Team Excellence Award of Merit

  • Aliamanu Middle School Custodial Team
    Ray Fontes, Gary Ishisaka, Krystler Lumabao, Albert Medeiros, Alvita Medeiros, and Roy Shimabukuro
  • ʻEwa Makai Middle School Tiger Custodial Team
    Leticia Agustin, Jonathan Castro, Hendrik Feliciano, Kama Fuentes, Jason Locke, Ricky Plunkett, Robert Suliman, Jane Thepphithak, Cid Valdez, Victorino Zaparita, and Violet Zaparita
  • Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance’s Data Quality Team
    Jill Genciana, Justin Matsuo, Stacey Pulmano, and Jared Takahashi
  • Waimea Elementary’s Office Staff
    Marvalee Carvalho, Patricia Kawakami, Roselee Kepo’o, Kapualanikai Laikupu, and Melody Salinas

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