DreamHouse ‛Ewa Beach Founder/Director
I see a school that serves as a leadership and identity development space for our children…
- EdD, Professional Education Practice
What were you doing before you became the Founding School Director for DreamHouse ‘Ewa Beach?
I was a graduate student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
What lead you to your career in education?
A transformational two years in the classroom through the Teach For America program that showed me where my experience and perspective could best be used, and where others would have the biggest impact on me.
Why did you choose to enter the EdD program?
All I had heard was that the EdD cohorts were full of passionate, place-based educational leaders who wanted to grow and learn alongside each other After our initial summer together, I agree completely. The kumu, cohort, and course sequence has made an immediate and lasting impact on how I view my kuleana to my children and community.
What is the focus of your research?
My dissertation will focus on building a public education program at the intersection of leadership and identity development, measuring impact, and if successful, working to develop shareable programming for colleagues and schools across our islands.
Who have been some of the most influential people along the way?
Dr. Michael Chun and Dr. Walter Kahumoku III are two people who come to mind immediately. They have each said to me, in their own words, that if I follow and lead from my heart, people will see past my skin color and the town on my birth certificate. This has been liberating advice and guides me in my work today.
How did you decide to open a new charter school?
Following multiple local and mainland visits to high performing charter schools, I got together with a group of friends (fellow educators) and we asked the question, “what would it take to start a school?” That set off some serious research, many talk stories in the ‘Ewa Beach community, and some soul-searching. I had to think about whether or not this was the right approach to supporting public education and, ultimately, whether or not I was the right person to help lead this work. At some point a few years ago, I realized that the stars were aligning, the need was there, the community will was there, and that we had support and interest causing momentum for this school. That momentum led us to July 13, 2017 when our charter was finally approved, nearly four and a half years after asking that question.
What do you see for the future of DreamHouse?
I see a school that serves as a leadership and identity development space for our children, a platform for their voice, and a launching point for local leadership and impact. I dream of the day one of our graduates comes back and tells me, “Move over; your work is done here. It is our time to lead DreamHouse into the future.”