October 2020 Ho‘oha‘aheo


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This month's issue is a special Teacher of the Year Edition featuring the 2021 Complex Area Teachers of the Year and what makes them #PublicSchoolProud.


Editor's Note: The annual Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year award represents HIDOE’s highest teaching honor. Amid this pandemic, as teaching and learning have had to adapt and continuously evolve, it’s all the more important to recognize excellence in the teaching profession. One outstanding educator will be named the 2021 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year in a virtual ceremony on Oct. 23 from among 16 finalists, representing each of our complex areas and one finalist from charter schools. We’ve dedicated this issue as an HSTOY special edition to honor this year’s finalists. Each educator was asked: What makes you #PublicSchoolProud? We think you’ll agree that the collective talent, passion and dedication of the honorees is a great source of pride for Hawai‘i public schools. Mahalo and congratulations!

Teachers: In the past three months, we have seen it all

» Pictured above: Cecilia “CC” Chung, 2020 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year

“Can you hear me? How about now? OK, good… No, no, not that button. Click that one… Yes, yes, that one!”

Teachers, in the past three months, we have seen it all. We’ve created more digital slideshows than we ever thought possible. We’ve been kicked out of our own virtual class meetings. We have seen every pet, held up close to the screen with a, “Ms. Chung, do you see him? Do you see my cat?”

We have also worried deeply about equity and access, building authentic relationships with our students, and learning to apply new technology while also remaining true to solid pedagogy. We have felt, immediately, the challenge of this new world of teaching and learning.

Read more

2021 Complex Area Teachers of the Year

Serena Cox


Waimea Canyon Middle

» As a public school educator, I have been tasked with the opportunity to change young lives and educate the next generation. While there may be ups and downs along the way, in my opinion, there is no other job that carries the joy and power of shaping tomorrows' future.

Kristen Eastvedt


Hauʻula Elementary

» I had public school teachers that believed in me and taught me to never give up. I have been inspired by dedicated colleagues. I am proud to instill positive qualities and confidence to students. I love seeing students shine and excel with their various talents and strengths.

Kelly Elms


Liholiho Elementary

» I am so proud to be a teacher and parent in a Hawaii public school. I am so proud that we are able to plant seeds of inspiration in our keiki that allows them to flourish and grow into the dreamers and doers that they were created to be!

Elaine Higa


Hawai‘i District Office

» I had educator HEROES in my life that were patient, respectful & sincere! We create relationships w/students, influence them to LOVE learning & choose pathways of PASSION. This is the MOST REWARDING & ESSENTIAL career on earth! I am #PublicSchoolProud.

Heidi Jenkins


Maui District Office

» As a public school teacher, I have the unique privilege to mentor & shape a diverse group of students who will be the solution makers of today & our future. It’s both humbling & joyful to watch these students learn & transform. I leave work everyday knowing I make a difference.

Shannon Kam



Ewa Makai Middle

» I am #PublicSchoolProud because every day I have the opportunity to work with the most amazing students on the planet! I greatly admire the resilience, creativity, and determination for success our students demonstrate, even in today's challenging world.

Shannon Kealoha


Maui Waena Intermediate

» #BuildingRelationships
inaDiverseCommunity #Inspiringthefuture #developingmaththinkers #teachingdiverselearners #FosteringGrowthmindsets #Rewarding

Joanna Kobayashi


Moanalua High

» I grew up on Moloka’i and am a proud graduate of Kaunakakai Elementary (Go, Dolphins!) and Moloka’i High School (Go, Farmers!). I am #publicschoolproud because of the students, educators, and staff that support, nurture, and grow our communities.

Kimberly Koopman


Kalāheo High

» My students make me #PublicSchoolProud. They are from diverse backgrounds, resilient in challenging and changing situations and aren’t afraid to advocate for what they believe. Every day my students inspire me and give me hope for our future.

Lori Kwee


Ala Wai Elementary

» My desire is to inspire all students by empowering them to passionately pursue their dreams as ambassadors in our community. I believe everyone is a leader with talents to strengthen a team with empathy, inclusion, and student voice. #PublicSchoolProud to radiate aloha.

Annette McComber


Keaukaha Elementary

» This Proud Public School Teacher: Embraces equity. Empowers all students that walk through her doors. Recognizes that teaching one way is not the only way. Believes that anything is possible. Knows what unconditional love is. Welcomes diversity as a strength.

Jacqueline Nuha-Tabernero

Pearl City-Waipahu

Waikele Elementary

» I am proud to be part of a team of resilient, resourceful and innovative educators. And I am proud to be part of a profession that challenges me to inspire my students to learn and grow. In turn, I appreciate my students who inspire me to do more, learn more, and become more.

Keala Nunuha


Nānāikapono Elementary

» I want to impact students the same way my elementary teachers impacted me. There is no greater way to show my gratitude for them and their work but to show how much I am #PublicSchoolProud by continuing to educate the children of Nanaikapono Elementary School.

Ashley Oyama


Konawaena Elementary

» Iʻm proud to be leading the next generation of students into the future. Student voice is such an important part of a child's educational journey. Whether it be in the classroom or the school community, I strive to be an inspirational support as students discover their own voice.

Andy Stever

Public Charter Schools

Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts & Science

» My students make me #PublicSchoolProud. I admire their dedication to learning, and their active participation in our “Virtual Classroom.” I am especially proud of our engaging discussions that bring the material to life for the students and open my eyes to fresh perspectives.

Dani Tokuda


Waialua Elementary

» As a TC, I have seen first hand just how much everyone has rose to the challenge. I’m in awe of just how much all parties were able to synergize. Teachers adapted, students persevered, parents supported. This heart represents public schools.

2021 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year

» Watch the Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year virtual ceremony that streamed on HIDOE’s Facebook page on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 from 3-4 p.m.


Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto


Phyllis Unebasami
Deputy Superintendent


Heidi Armstrong
Student Support Services
Alisa Bender
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



CONNECT WITH US » HawaiiPublicSchools.org

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

This email was sent to all HIDOE staff.

Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

How do I...?


View all FAQ's