Professor, Department Chair
"Our highly trained and experienced faculty are always in pursuit of excellence in their field, ensuring that students receive the most current and relevant training available."
- PhD, Education: Exceptionalities
How would you describe your role as the Special Education Department Chair?
As Department Chair, I provide advocacy for the department faculty, students, and special education program integrity. My role is quasi-administrative and involves handling the day-to-day business of the department.
How did you become interested in the field of special education?
My initial interest in special education developed as an undergraduate student majoring in psychology. My interest in autism and how to enhance the lives of those with this disorder became a passion that I have continued to pursue throughout my career.
What is your philosophy of teaching?
Keats wrote, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” This quote guides my approach to teaching. I aspire to teach in a manner that ignites students’ desire for further knowledge and mastery of their own teaching practice.
What types of candidates do you hope/recommend to pursue our special education programs?
We hope our candidates are hard-working and good time managers. It helps if they are capable of imagining what could be… rather than what is.
How does the Department of Special Education best support and prepare its students?
The Department of Special Education has a wide range of programs that are designed to train special educators across the State of Hawaii at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our highly trained and experienced faculty are always in pursuit of excellence in their field, ensuring that students receive the most current and relevant training available.
What words of advice would you give to people looking to pursue the program/profession?
Find opportunities within the community to engage with individuals with disabilities. Spend time getting to know them and their experiences before you begin the program.
What are your research interests?
Teacher preparation, evidence-based practices for individuals with severe disabilities/autism spectrum disorders, and literacy
What has been your proudest accomplishment in your career thus far?
My proudest accomplishment is acquiring 2 Federal Grants that have provided full scholarships for 60 special educators to complete our statewide Special Education MEd program with an emphasis on improving outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorders and severe disabilities. Educators from remote, rural, and disadvantaged areas across our island state were prioritized in the selection process to help increase the expertise in these often underserved communities.
What do you like to do outside of education?
Read true crime novels, deep-sea fishing, and traveling