Getting to Know Us

PB-SPED Program Faculty & Staff

Shawna Ortogero
Dr. Shawna Ortogero Program Advisor
The PB-SPED advisor’s primary role is to guide candidates through the program. The advisor makes decisions to address individual candidates’ situations and needs and is an important resource for candidates. Candidates must maintain regular communication with the advisor and let the advisor know right away if they have questions, special requests, or problems that may impact their program.
Heather smiling
Heather Rogers-Rodrigues Placement Coordinator
The placement coordinator supports all program candidates in matters related to field placement requirements towards teacher licensure. The placement coordinator supports candidates by finding appropriate field placements and classroom mentors across all islands. In addition, for candidates who are already employed in school settings, the placement coordinator reviews all placements on a case-by-case basis to ensure the position aligns with the level and specialization area being sought for licensure.

MUSE Mentors

The MUSE Mentor program is designed to provide high quality, individualized support to unlicensed special education “emergency hire” teachers enrolled in the Post Baccalaureate in Special Education program at UH Mānoa. PB-SPED candidates who are employed as PreK-12 Special Education teachers may be allowed to complete their field experience requirements in their own classroom (“in place”). This type of placement differs from a traditional field placement, as an “in place” teacher does not have the benefit of daily modeling and support of a cooperating teacher. This support is a critical component of the practicum experiences included in the Special Education program. Therefore, candidates will be assigned a MUSE Mentor while enrolled in the PB-SPED program. Once approved to complete field experiences in their own classroom, details of the MUSE Mentor program will be provided.

Please visit our MUSE website to learn more:

Award Winning Alumni

Shildmyer photo
Michael Shildmyer Recognized in Extraordinary Educators campaign
"His passion for his students is immeasurable, and his innate ability to make all his students love learning and strive to do their best is incredible! Despite the challenges of distance learning, his students have continued to thrive under his guidance." - Aileen Soma, MUSE mentor
Read the story
Kari Odo 2019 Milken Educators of Hawai'i Teacher of Promise Recipient
"The program is built well as it guided me from being a student, to a student-teacher, to a teacher who can stand on my own and guide my own learning in the field."
Kari Odo's Profile

SPEDucator Project Recipients

The SPEDucator Project is made up of Hawaii DOE special education teachers, who were selected by educational leaders for their passion, ingenuity, and excellence in the field of special education based on recommendations from the teacher’s administrator, colleague, and student’s parent. This inaugural project was initiated as a collaboration between the Hawaii Department of Education and UH Mānoa’s College of Education, Department of Special Education and was further funded and supported by the Governor’s GEER Grant from 2020-2022.

These “SPEDucators” advocate for equity to better serve special education students, parents, and our communities. Four UHM PBSPED alumni were selected to be a part of this project. 

Meet more of our Amazing Students and Alumni!