Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Nov. 23


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week's issue cheers on our student-athletes in the upcoming football state championships and includes a special Thanksgiving message.

Nov. 23

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.

As we all take time to reflect on and appreciate what we are grateful for, I'd like to express my appreciation for the unwavering dedication of our school leaders, teachers and staff across the Department. I sincerely appreciate all that you do everyday to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students and schools.

I'm also thankful for our students and their families, for valuing public education and being engaged with your respective school communities. And I am grateful for our business, government, community and philanthropic partners who actively support our schools in so many ways. You all truly exemplify ne‘epapa, our theme of working together in unity with a shared purpose. On behalf of the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, I extend my warmest wishes to you all for a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones.

This holiday weekend, let’s also cheer on our student-athletes! Public schools in all four counties are represented in the upcoming Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association’s 2022 First Hawaiian Bank Football State Championships. On Friday, Kahuku High and Punahou vie for the Open Division Championship. On Saturday, King Kekaulike and Waimea High square up for the Division II Championship, along with Waipahu and Konawaena High’s Division I Championship face-off.

Last week’s announcement of National Career Academy Coalition recognition inadvertently left three of James Campbell High’s academies out. The school earned National Model Status for both its Academy of Public and Human Services and Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Campbell’s Freshman Success Academy earned National Model Academy with Distinction Status. Congratulations to Campbell High and Principal Jon Henry Lee on your well-deserved national recognition.



We asked some special guests from the Hilo-Waiākea complex area to complete the sentence below.

“The best way I can express my gratitude is __________.”

" …showing and demonstrating appreciation for those I encounter daily. Whether it is thanking a school custodian for creating a welcoming school environment or joining administrators in opening car doors and greeting students, an acknowledgment is never too small to express gratitude.”
Esther Kanehailua is a product of the schools she serves today in the Hilo-Waiākea complex, having attended E.B. deSilva Elementary, Hilo Intermediate and Hilo High School. She was appointed as complex area superintendent in July 2019. Esther began her education journey 31 years ago, first as a teacher before going on to serve as vice principal and principal at various Hawaiʻi island schools. In July 2021, she was appointed as an ASC WASC Commissioner representing the Hawai‘i State Department of Education.

" …to pause and take notice of the wonderful opportunities and experiences life has given me. I am so appreciative of a career path that has given me so many opportunities to grow as an individual and work with inspiring educators who sincerely believe we are doing good work and consistently keep our students at the center of all decision-making.”
Corinne Kalani has worked in the Hilo-Waiākea complex area for over 30 years, most recently as the induction program coordinator supporting new educators and their instructional school-level mentors. She continues to be energized by the enthusiasm of new educators and feels grateful for mentors who share their knowledge to nurture the growth of our teachers.

" …to take time to notice and pay attention to the many accomplishments, no matter how big or small, our students, teachers and parents display and share. Happy Holidays!”
Bert Bibilone has been with the Hilo-Waiākea complex for 30 years. He enjoys learning with students with autism spectrum disorders and has been a special education teacher, autism consulting teacher and is currently a district educational specialist for autism.

Family Focus

In celebration of Thanksgiving tomorrow, we’re closing out our gratitude series by focusing on expressing gratitude.

Expressing gratitude is more than courtesy, manners or being polite, it’s about showing your heartfelt appreciation. When you thank someone, you’re also practicing the first two gratitude steps: you’ve noticed something good and you’ve genuinely appreciated it.

You can show appreciation to someone who did something nice by saying thank you, writing a letter or you can express gratitude by doing an act of kindness. True gratitude is all about feeling good and paying it forward.

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

  • Nov. 24 - Holiday: Thanksgiving
  • Nov. 25 - School Holiday

Community Query

We asked on Twitter and Instagram...

Q: What are you most thankful for this year?

CDC COVID-19 Community Levels

CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels is a tool to help guide decision making on mitigation strategies based on community classification levels of low, medium or high. When the level is at medium or high, additional layered strategies such as masking are recommended.
Weekly CDC COVID Community Levels by Hawaii DOH

HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» Lahainaluna High School is reviving its agriculture program to help grow Maui’s next generation of farmers.


» Three public high schools on Kaua‘i participated in a program with Wilcox Medical Center to introduce approximately 200 high school students to careers in the medical field.


» Students are encouraged to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to receive grants, scholarships, loans and other types of financial aid for post-secondary education.


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



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Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us


Contact Information

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Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

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