Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Oct. 19


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week's issue features Unity Day and a recap of our Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year announcement.

Oct. 19

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.

Editor’s Note: In honor of Unity Day today, our header is displayed in orange as we stand together, united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

This week we celebrated our 16 complex area and charter school Teacher of the Year winners with the announcement of the overall 2023 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year — veteran Kalani High math and computer science teacher Michael Ida. Teachers truly make an impact on their students, schools and communities, and we applaud all of your contributions toward elevating our Hawai‘i public school system.

I also had the privilege of attending the Hawai‘i Green Growth Local2030 Hub 2022 Annual Partnership event last week. I participated in a panel with Lt. Gov. Josh Green and bright student leaders to share our vision for the future of Hawai‘i and what actions we can take to help advance sustainability. It was inspiring to hear from Waipahu High students, BOE Student Representative Maverick Yasuda and Sean Valencia, and Kamehameha Schools students. Given the Department’s extensive footprint and reach, we recognize the critical role that education plays in achieving future prosperity through an integrated green economy and sustainability.

Today we celebrate Unity Day to recognize the Department’s support of inclusive, nurturing learning environments for all. It’s important that we all stand together to show our commitment to safe and supportive schools and communities. Mahalo to those who helped to amplify this year’s theme of “Aloha in Action, United for Kindness, Acceptance and Inclusion” by wearing orange or this year’s Unity Day sticker!



Before 2022’s Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year Whitney Aragaki passes on the torch to Michael Ida, we asked her and some of her students at Waiākea High to complete the sentence below in honor of Unity Day.

“Showing kindness is important because __________.”

" ...sometimes a bit of kindness can brighten someone's day."
– Dontae Taifmai, Gr. 12 (Pictured, far left)
" ...we are never aware of the battles someone else is fighting."
– Ava Aiona, Gr. 12 (Pictured, second from the left)
" ...it creates a better environment for everyone."
– Kaili Mahaulu, Gr. 12 (Pictured, second from the right)
" ...it reflects how we want to be treated."
– Brayden Chai, Gr. 12 (Pictured, far right)
" ...a sense of belonging is built on the foundation of honoring everyone's identities."
– Whitney Aragaki

Returning to serve her high school alma mater, Whitney Aragaki teaches biology and environmental science at Waiākea High. She is the 2022 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year Finalist. Aragaki is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescence and Young Adulthood Mathematics, and a two-time state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

2023 Teacher of the Year

“This is about my students, and my colleagues throughout the years who have encouraged me, who have pushed me, and challenged me… It’s about everybody who supports, who contributes, and who loves public education as much as I do.”
– Michael Ida, 2023 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year

Watch the 2023 Teacher of the Year ceremony on the HIDOE Facebook video page.

Click here to watch each of the complex area finalists response to the prompt, “Describe something that happened this past week that made you smile and reinvigorated your love for teaching.”

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

  • Oct. 19 - Unity Day
  • Oct. 19 - BOE Community Meeting (Nānākuli-Wai‘anae)
  • Oct. 20 - Board of Education: Special Meeting, General Business Meeting
  • Oct. 21 - BOE Community Meeting (Campbell-Kapolei)
  • Oct. 25 - BOE Community Meeting (Hilo-Waiākea)

Community Query

Orange is representative of the autumn season, safety and visibility. It’s warm, inviting and its vibrancy makes an impactful statement that our society wants to prevent bullying and is united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion.
We asked on Twitter and Instagram...

Q: To celebrate Unity Day, what would you want to see orange?

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.

» HIDOE and the Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education Japan recently signed an agreement of education collaboration to further commit the relationship between Hiroshima and Hawai‘i.


» Kapa‘a High’s health academy has grown from one class to eight over the past 20 years, earning state and national recognition under teacher Kara Kitamura.


» After disbanding 10 years ago, the McKinley Theater Group returns to the stage under new leadership with “Little Shop of Horrors.” Tickets for the show are available at www.mckinleytheatergroup.org.


Keith Hayashi


Heidi Armstrong

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


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