MEd in Curriculum Studies (PACMED) & GCERT in Sustainability and Resilience Education
“In terms of practical application and the relevance of the program focus, PACMED really stands apart from other available programs.”
Solana Beach, California
- MEd, Curriculum Studies: PACMED
Where do you work?
I have been working at Punahou School for the past five years. I am the Director of Design Technology and Engineering, which I founded and now oversee. The department offers courses, after school and summer programs, clubs, special projects, and specialized tech facilities.
How did you become interested in the PACMED program?
I gave a tour to program graduate Gregg Nakano who thought there was a lot of alignment between the PACMED program and the placed-based design approach I was co-developing with Dr. Keʽalohi Reppun (Kū hala) for the Hawaiian voyaging canoe program and the Global Sustainability by Design program. From there, I was introduced to PACMED director Dr. Deborah Zuercher and learned more about the program. I realized it would provide a lot of value across a variety of dimensions for the work I was trying to push forward. I was most attracted to the power of learning from and with the diverse international network of educators in the program
How has the PACMED program helped you along in your career?
I spent a good deal of my career prior to my arrival in Hawaiʽi as an international school educator. International experience provided me with an opportunity to develop a mindset and curiosity around placed-based education. The professors in the PACMED program were able to fill in some of the theory and connect me to existing research I needed to better understand ideas I was playing with. This foundation has helped me to better execute or support others in leading various projects and initiatives I was already involved in. Again, hearing from other educators with a similar mindset but vastly different life experience and cultural knowledge and background was the highlight for me. In terms of practical application and the relevance of the program focus, PACMED really stands apart from other available programs.
Is there anyone in particular who has inspired you along your education journey?
Everywhere I have been in my life and travels, there have been teachers, coaches, administrators and kids who have inspired me. I also studied various martial arts over my life and was inspired in different ways by those teachers as well. I am also lucky in that I have been inspired by educators who taught my own children. Since arriving in Hawaiʽi, I have been very impressed and humbled by the depth of knowledge and commitment to place and culture I see in the educators I work with and learn from. There is so much to learn here.
How have you been able to mitigate the challenges that have come with COVID at your school?
It has been a rough two years for our community, our world. I have the good fortune to be involved in numerous projects that have continued to make progress during the pandemic. I was also able to continue PACMED work. I have seen the strength in people around me and had the privilege to be a part of groups of people working to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) in design labs across Oʽahu in the early days of PPE shortages. I have tried lessons and approaches to learning with students I may never have attempted in other contexts.
What are your future plans?
As our program has grown over the last five years, we have reached a point where we are ready to develop new or strengthen standing relationships with our community and with other institutions doing similar work. I am beginning to reach out to partner schools, both public and private, interested in working together across a variety of STEM and place-based initiatives from virtual reality to voyaging. I am also looking outward to universities hoping to develop stronger ties to programs that have similar mindset and goals. There are educators across the state building incredible programs that highlight the importance of Hawaiian culture and knowledge as a foundational knowledge to protect Hawaiʽi’s future and on a bigger scale the world’s ecological future. I hope to learn more from them and see if I might have a role in supporting that work.