Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Feb. 1


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week's issue includes the 2023 Milken Educator Award and Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian Language Month).

Feb. 1

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 our system.

Daniel K. Inouye Elementary Assistant Principal Esther Kwon has joined the ranks of elite educators from around the country who are nationally recognized for furthering excellence in education. Kwon was surprised with the Milken Educator Award at a school assembly Tuesday, where she received an unrestricted $25,000 prize. The program was launched by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987 and has been described as “the Oscars of Teaching.”

“As a strong school leader, Esther draws on her diverse roles and contributions at Daniel K. Inouye Elementary to help drive growth on a broad scale and guide a new generation of teachers,” said Jane Foley, Milken Educator Awards senior vice president.

We are honored and grateful to have such an exceptional educator in our public school system and congratulate Esther on this well-deserved recognition. She is the 80th Hawai‘i educator to receive the award since the state joined the program in 1990.

I recently had the privilege of attending the Secondary Student Conference and was blown away by my interactions with Hawai‘i State Student Council leaders. Public middle and high school student participants had the opportunity to identify widespread issues, learn about the legislative process to address those issues, and gain advocacy experience by sharing viable solutions to solve these issues.

About 150 students discussed their perspectives on student achievement, school environment and co/extra-curricular activities. Participants selected three bills as the highest student priorities for this legislative session: HB 603, HB 620 and SB 308.

I was able to share with the group that this year's conference theme of “CommUNITY” is so important, because in order to have a healthy and thriving community, we need to all work together. Any differences should always be respected and taken into consideration so that we can agree upon and establish a common ground where we can Ne‘epapa — or move forward together, in unison.



We asked some special guests from the Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE) to complete the sentence below.

“What Hawaiian value is important to you and why?”

" Koʻikoʻi lākou a pau, akā e kau ana ka manaʻo ma ka MĀLAMA. He mea nui ka mālama pono ʻana i ko kākou ʻāina, ka poʻe a pau o ko kākou mau ʻohana a ma nā kaiaulu, ke ola kino, ka ʻike, kā kākou ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a me ka moʻomeheu i mau kēia mau mea a pau. ʻO ia ko kākou kuleana."

" All of the values are important, but right now my mind is reflecting on MĀLAMA, which means “to care for, preserve, protect, maintain, etc.” It is very important to care for our land, everyone in our family and in our communities, our health, knowledge, our Hawaiian language and culture so that we can preserve and continue all of these things. It is our responsibility."
»ʻĀnela Iwane is a Kaiapuni Educational Specialist in the Office of Hawaiian Education. She graduated from Roosevelt High. She was a Kaiapuni teacher at Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Hauʻula and a Curriculum Coordinator at Nā Kula Kaiapuni o Hauʻula and Pūʻōhala before getting hired at OHE.

" Wahi a kuʻu kūpuna a me koʻu makua kekahi, ʻo ke ALOHA ke kahua o nā mea a pau. Noʻu, inā hiki iā kākou a pau ke hoʻomanaʻo a hoʻoikaika i nā kuleana he ʻelima o ke ALOHA - ʻo ia hoʻi ke akahai, ka lōkahi, ka ʻoluʻolu, ka haʻahaʻa, a me ke ahonui, e pōmaikaʻi ʻia ana nā mea a pau."

" As my kūpuna and my makua have instilled in me, I value ALOHA as the foundation for everything in this world. If we can all be reminded of our responsibility to constantly work each day on the five facets of ALOHA - akahai, lōkahi, ʻoluʻolu, haʻahaʻa, and ahonui, what a blessed world we would have. True aloha is a responsibility and a gift, and it is my honor to continue to strengthen it within myself as well as the people and places that I have the privilege of sharing a space with."
»Kaʻanohiokalā Kalama-Macomber is a mother of three from Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu. She is a kumu hula, a community educator and the Nā Hopena Aʻo (HĀ) Education Specialist for the Hawaiʻi Department of Education's Office of Hawaiian Education.

Hawaiian Word of the Week

In honor of Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawai‘i Language Month), we are featuring selected segments of Hawai‘i Public Radio’s Hawaiian Word of the Day hosted by Leilani Poli‘ahu Kamalani. Leilani is also the Title I/curriculum coordinator at HIDOE’s Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Ānuenue, a K-12 Hawaiian language immersion school. In this segment, she introduces a new word, explains what it means, spells it and models the correct pronunciation.


► Listen
Ānuenue means “rainbow.” It is a name given to the Kula Kaiapuni in Pālolo, the first DOE school devoted entirely to the immersion teaching of children in the Hawaiian language.

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

  • Black History Month
  • Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language Month)
  • School-Based Health Care Awareness Month

Community Query

We asked on Twitter and Instagram...

Describe your mood today.

HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» KITV featured a program at Kaunakakai Elementary on Moloka‘i that is helping connect computer science to Hawaiian culture. Watch the story where students created their own computer games using stories from the community to help teach Hawai‘i’s history.


» The Hawai‘i Island Community Health Center opened school-based centers at Hōnaunau Elementary, Kealakehe Elementary and Kealakehe Intermediate. Students can get exams, dental services and behavioral health care with a signed consent form.


» Kailua Intermediate students’ Exploratory Day is the front page story of MidWeek Windward. Students explored areas of interest that they may want to focus on in their future academics and careers.


Keith Hayashi


Heidi Armstrong

Deputy Superintendent


Curt Otaguro

Deputy Superintendent

Tammi Oyadomari-Chun
Deputy Superintendent


Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Annie Kalama
Student Support 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


Derek Inoshita

Contributing Writer


Krislyn Yano

Contributing Writer



CONNECT WITH US » HawaiiPublicSchools.org

1390 Miller St. Honolulu, HI 96813 | Phone: (808) 784-6200 | Fax: (808) 586-3234
Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us


Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us


Ho‘oha‘aheo newsletter cover

The Department's primary publication featuring successes across our public schools.

View all Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletters