Institute for Teacher EducationDegree:
PBC in Secondary Education Student
Where do you work?
I work at Hāna High and Elementary School.
How did you become interested in the field of secondary education?
I started working at a non-profit in Hāna, then I ran my own non-profit working with kids. This led to me working in the school. I never imagined being a teacher, but I fell in love with working with Hāna kids.
Briefly describe your road to college.
I have a bachelor’s in communication from San Francisco State University and a master’s in communication from Boston University. I had a whole different career in crisis communications and politics in my first professional life. The road to attending UH Mānoa came from being an emergency hire for two years and needing to get my teacher’s license. The common narrative is that there are a lot of teachers in Hawai‘i who are not “qualified” to teach. In this program, I’ve quickly learned that’s not the entire story. My colleagues have shared rich, professional careers that will be an added benefit in serving the keiki of Hawai‘i. This program is a humbling experience for all of us professionals, learning the theory, practice, and strategies of effective teaching.
Why did you select the UHM COE?
The UHM COE sort of selected me. I was a substitute teacher for many years when I was handed a flyer for the Grow Your Own initiative. A friend told me it was time for members in our community to step up and respond to the call. I wasn’t accepted the first year, applying as a substitute. It was meant to be that I was accepted for the second cohort.
What does the "Grow Our Own" initiative and stipend mean to you?
It means everything to me. It’s a blessing to receive the financial support to attend a rewarding program. I’m forever grateful to Senator Kidani for working on securing the funds for so many of us teachers to attend this program.
Is there anyone in particular who inspired/inspires you to pursue teaching as a career?
I would first have to say Cass Cline, a longtime teacher of Hāna High School & Elementary. Christel Blumer-Buell, another longtime teacher at Hāna School, is my other reason. Both big shoes to fill. I know I have years of work cut out for myself to come close to doing justice in serving the community the way these two women have for so many years. The woman who has inspired me to continue on this rigorous and challenging path of earning my PBSCE is Dr. Charlotte Frambaugh-Kritzer in the COE. I don’t know where I would be without these three mana wahine in my life.
What are your plans after graduation?
After I am certified, I plan to continue teaching English Language Arts in our middle school of Hāna High & Elementary. I want to inspire students to make meaning of text, encourage philosophical inquiry on social justice issues, and to continue to perpetuate Native Hawaiian cultural, religious, and subsistence values and practices within East Maui.