January 2021 Hoʻohaʻaheo


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This month's issue features the Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellows' New Year's resolutions, and we asked Hōnaunau Elementary students what makes them #PublicSchoolProud.


Editor's Note: The Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellows program provides teacher leaders with community engagement skills, communication and advocacy strategies, and opportunities to collaborate with stakeholders to elevate public education. Congratulations to the 2020-22 cohort that was announced in December! To celebrate and honor the fellows, we asked them to share their professional New Year's resolutions.

2020-22 Hawai‘i State Teacher Fellows

Kevin Michael Agtarap

Ka'imiloa Elementary

» My professional New Year’s resolution is to do a self assessment on my own teaching and learning, and change what’s not working for me, continue doing the things that are, and to try something new in my instruction.  


Cornelio "CJ" Ancheta

Lahainaluna High

» Two resolutions: To continue learning new technology tools that I can implement in order to improve student engagement, I also would like to build connections with my amazing teacher fellows and create areas for us to grow and nurture each other.


Jessica Barbera

Waikoloa Elementary & Middle

» My New Year’s resolution is to overcome obstacles of learning at a distance to motivate, inspire, and encourage my students to strive for their goals and dreams.

Luca Barcenilla

Nānākuli High

» This year I will step out of my comfort zone and create opportunities for educators to connect with one another as they explore new and exciting EdTech resources that they can integrate into their lessons.


Chayanee Brooks

Ka‘ū High & Pāhala Elementary

» For New Year’s, I am resolute to help students make an impact on society through critical pedagogy, i.e., reality pedagogy, employing cogenerative, open-ended explorative dialogue in creating action plans, where students become independent learners.


Wrayna Fairchild

Voyager Public Charter

» My New Year’s resolution is to engage my colleagues in thoughtful discussion, centered around STEM education and PBL. I will challenge myself to develop training sessions and unit building opportunities for my school site counterparts.

Nicole Heinlein

ʻĪao Intermediate

» In 2021, I resolve to best support my students in class and as we head into ACCESS test season for ELs. I will try my best and forget the rest (recovering perfectionist here!), take time to be grateful, and I will be present with family and friends.


Michael Ida

Kalani High

» As teaching embodies both great responsibility and tremendous opportunity, it is fitting that we not hold anything back when answering its call. My resolution to more intentionally bring all of what makes me who I am into my teaching begins in 2021.


Ashley Mika Ito-Macion

Kanoelani Elementary

» I want to continue to grow with the vast opportunities our education profession has to offer. I want to put collaboration at the forefront of the work I do. I can't wait to see how we can continue to elevate our profession in 2021!

Stacie Kaichi-Imamura

Office of Curriculum & Instructional Design

» My #oneword21 is GROWTH. Inspire professional and personal GROWTH. Continue to grow as a learner (including growth mindset). Aspire to foster the GROWTH of others (students, educators, stakeholders, family, and friends). Let us grow together.


Erica Kaneshiro

Kaʻewai Elementary

» In 2021, my goal is to engage in collaboration and professional development to find ways to better meet the needs of my distance learning students. I want to inspire, excite, and connect with my students even when we are apart.


Denise Karratti

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle

» I resolve to get comfortable with being uncomfortable! I will write and share my pieces with others. I will leverage and promote social media as a valuable networking resource. My friends and I will launch our podcast, Educ8 t0 Elev8.

Trisha Kodama

Aliʻiolani Elementary

» My New Year’s resolution is to continue to be inspired and to inspire others. I want to be encouraged to grow by others, inspire my students to be life-long learners, and motivate my colleagues. “To be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible.”


Kecia McDonald

Honoka‘a-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area

» For 2021 I'd like to be more intentional. The unique circumstances of 2020 required change, adaptability and the pivot. I want to step into the new year focused on being proactive, accountable to long term goals, and actions in support of my values.


Edith Middleton

King Kekaulike High

» As a tradition, I focus on three resolutions for each new year. For 2021, my focus is to earn National Board Certification, to continue striving and supporting as a teacher leader, and to read at least one book per month.

Melissa Montoya

Kamaile Academy Public Charter

» I have gained momentum to finish my dissertation this past year. This year, my resolution is to finish and pass my defense. The amazing teachers and students in Hawai'i deserve to be seen and heard in academia.


Zachary Morita

Niu Valley Middle

» My professional New Year’s resolution is to elevate #TeacherVoice and #StudentVoice so we may build education communities where all stakeholders are equal learners. I will also continue #SharingOurStories about everything that is #PublicSchoolProud!


Kristi Okura

Kīpapa Elementary

» As an educator, my first resolution is to find resources, strategies and tools for my families to tap into, and to continue building our relationships. My second is to continue to advocate for my colleagues and work with my admin on resolutions.

Karleen Russell

Pearl City High

» My resolution is to maximize class time for student-led questions and curiosity-driven inquiry. Also, specifically for SY 20-21 to be flexible in planning and always have a plan b,c, and d.


Nicholas Strope

Kealakehe High

» My professional New Year's resolution for 2021 is to purposely build supportive relationships with my students so their voices can be heard, especially during virtual learning!


Cherisse Yamada

Kāneʻohe Elementary

» My professional New Year’s resolution is to collaborate with teachers to reinvigorate our passions for teaching, to inspire a love of learning, and to uplift teacher voice to influence positive change.

#PublicSchoolProud  | We asked Hōnaunau Elementary students what is your favorite thing about school? With help from their teacher Topher Pike, here’s what they had to say.


I love my school because it feels like home. If it was not for my school I would not have awesome teachers and friends.

» Joanna Valdovinos, Grade 4, Hōnaunau Elementary


I am proud of my school because it has some of my friends and nice teachers. School helps me learn things like how to protect our environment and history.

» Ka'el Tabelisma-Johnson, Grade 4, Hōnaunau Elementary

News Feed  |  #HI4PublicEd

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» In collaboration with the Department of Health, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education is continuing its efforts to expedite vaccine access for its employees. To indicate your interest in the vaccine, please complete this survey.


» Two high schools recently celebrated groundbreaking ceremonies. These celebrations mark the beginning of construction for Waipahu High School's Integrated Academy Facility and Phase 2 of Kihei High School's campus construction.


» The Department partnered with DonorsChoose, an education crowdfunding site that helps teachers obtain financial support for classroom projects and resources. In January, teachers will receive a welcome donation as well as a promo code that doubles donations to their project.


Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto



Phyllis Unebasami
Deputy Superintendent


Heidi Armstrong
Student Support Services
Teri Ushijima
Curriculum and Instructional Design
Brook Conner
Information Technology Services
Cynthia Covell
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Rodney Luke
Strategy, Innovation and Performance
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations



Nanea Kalani

Executive Editor


Chanel Honda

Managing Editor


Sara Miyazono
Creative Director



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