December 2021 Ho‘oha‘aheo


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This month's issue features a message from Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi.


Editorial Mission: As the Department’s primary publication, we aim to live up to the meaning of ha‘aheo — to cherish with pride — by bolstering and sustaining pride in public education and touting the successes happening across the system.

Mahalo and Happy Holidays from Interim Superintendent Hayashi

Whether it's before the Board of Education or the Legislature, Interim Superintendent Hayashi is inspired by all of you to face the challenges ahead and do whatever it takes to help our students and school communities. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday break.


Please click here or on the image to view the video.

$3 million donation supports teacher-led projects

The holidays came early for over 2,000 HIDOE teachers!

Through a generous donation from Marc and Lynne Benioff and matching funds from the Department, teacher-led projects – ranging from in-class science labs at Laupāhoehoe Charter School to the design of an on-campus perpetual garden at ʻEwa Makai Middle – were fully funded. Using the nonprofit organization DonorsChoose, a program whose mission is to support public school educators, 2,004 local teachers received up to $1,000 toward their classroom projects. Additional funds from this partnership will support more requests next year.

Read more


  • Despite the many challenges brought on by the pandemic, so many of my colleagues in the Department operated outside of their comfort zones, rallied to learn new methods and technology, and supported each other, students and parents throughout this journey. My son’s teachers and administrators created a positive experience and developed relationships both online and inperson. Everyone worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the students' experience as awesome and safe as possible. I am #PublicSchoolProud of my colleagues and extend my deepest appreciation and gratitude to all teachers, administrators and staff for their dedication, resiliency and heart.

    »Jade Takehiro is a budget specialist in the Office of Fiscal Services. Jade is also a Hilo High School alumni and parent of an eighth grader at Niu Valley Middle School.


  • Both my children attend Waikīkī Elementary and we couldn't be happier. The school leadership and staff handled COVID remarkably, and my kids remained engaged throughout distance learning last school year because their teachers worked as a team, were simply marvelous educators, and communicated with us families so well. I can't say enough about what the great communication meant to us — the teachers reached out, made themselves available, and talked to us like true partners. It allowed us to see what an excellent school it is. I am honored to be able to support our schools from the State Office level. We are definitely #PublicSchoolProud.
  • »Wimmie Wong Lui is a budget specialist with the Office of Fiscal Services, and a grateful parent of two children who attend Waikīkī Elementary.

Mahalo and a hui hou: Congratulations to Kathy Dimino on her retirement

  • Our sincerest mahalo goes to Kathy Dimino as she retires from the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area Superintendent position after a devoted 32 years of service to the Department. We deeply admire the passion, commitment, and care she dedicated to our keiki and wish her all the best.

    We extend a warm welcome to Jamie Yap as he assumes the complex area superintendent role for the BKM district. Jamie started his HIDOE career 40 years ago as a teacher. He’s served as principal of Maui High School since 2017 and was the long-time principal of Maui Waena Intermediate School before that.

    It has been an honor to serve our Hawaiʻi community over the last 30 years. I am grateful for our educators and the work they do to ensure that our students have the opportunities to participate in high-level educational activities. Over these past couple of years, our educators have worked even harder to support our students through the pandemic and I appreciate all they have done. My hope is that the Department continues to focus on student success when working with our state and community partners, remembering that we all want the same outcome for our kids.
    — Kathy Dimino

COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidance

  • With winter break starting next week, please be advised that the Department's COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidance for School Year 2021-22 has been updated. To ensure you're looking at the latest version, the lower left corner of the cover should say: Rev. Dec. 15, 2021.

    Warmest wishes for a safe and joyful holiday season!


Keith Hayashi

Interim Superintendent

Phyllis Unebasami
Deputy Superintendent


Heidi Armstrong
Student Support Services
Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations

Christine Shaw

Information Technology Services

Cara Tanimura

Strategy, Innovation and Performance

Teri Ushijima

Curriculum and Instructional Design



Nanea Kalani

Executive Editor

Chanel Honda

Managing Editor

Sara Miyazono
Creative Director




1390 Miller St. Honolulu, HI 96813 | Phone: (808) 784-6200 | Fax: (808) 586-3234

What makes you #PublicSchoolProud?

This email was sent to all HIDOE staff.

Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200


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