Doug Hiu IV is a young guy, but he has already lived quite a life. In this episode Doug shares his journey from tough childhood to extraordinary middle school teacher at Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama Campus on the island of Oahu in Hawaiʻi. Doug is an “all in” educator – his students go on quests, dig deep into essential questions and participate in epic exhibitions of knowledge. His teacher website is a garden of delights, an Alice in Wonderland of exclamation points and references to projects, challenges and problems his students tackle on a daily basis. Doug is also well versed in current literature authored by the world’s leading education lights. Born Douglas AhKop Hiu IV, he is of Hawaiian, Chinese, and Caucasian decent and the second oldest of three siblings. Doug grew up in Maunawili Valley on the wet and windy, Windward Side of Oahu; from 5th to 8th grade he attended six different public schools before landing at Kahuku Intermediate and High Schools, where he wrestled, played football and graduated in 2001. He earned his BA in sociology, and a masters in education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. Doug has four children with his wife, Tamzen. In addition to teaching, he coaches wrestling and practices in various combat sports. He is a graduate of the Keala’ula Institute for Strategy and Innovation, a tri-campus Kamehameha Schools initiative headed up by Dr. Evan Beachy, who has been featured on this podcast.
Kay Sturm is one of the most intentional people I have ever met. I knew this from observing her practice years ago when she taught at The School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability. It’s still true today as she works to stand up and make fly The Umi Project, whose vision is to bring people and ideas together through intentionally designed education. Listen as Kay and I work through deeper learning, essential question-based learning, communities of practice and much, much more. From Hawaii to Alaska, Kay has had a diverse array of experiences and roles in education. Kay received her Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California; her dissertation focused on the “Facilitation of Authentic Teaching and Learning in a PBL Environment.” She is an adjunct faculty professor for the University of Southern California, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, and works as the lead education consultant with clients partnered with The Umi Project. She is also a National Faculty member for the national organization, PBLWorks, under the Buck Institute for Education, and facilitates PBL101 workshops around the country. In 2016, she was named Charter School Teacher of the Year in the State of Hawaiʻi. Kay started as a special education teacher at Waianae High School on the island of Oahu. She has worked at both the middle and high school level in the classroom and at the leadership level, as an instructional coach and coordinator for student-focused experiences. She is passionate about teaching content through the lens of sustainability, project-based learning and place-based education. Kay now lives in Alaska, but travels extensively, and intentionally. Learn more about The Umi Project at https://www.theumiproject.com.
Robert Landau has served in almost every capacity imaginable, in schools and public, private and charter education at large. He describes himself as a futurist, but in truth, he is a wizard at “school renovations.” What is a “school renovation,” you ask? Listen to this on the road episode to find out. More than anything, Robert loves his students of all ages, a fact evident when visiting him at Maui Preparatory Academy, where he is Head of School. As recently as 2017, he was the executive director of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, an organization that preserves and strengthens private school education in Hawaii. Subsequently, he started his own education consulting business, “Two Roads Education.” Robert worked with not only private schools but also charter schools and the state Department of Education. Prior to that, he lived and worked abroad for more than 40 years in countries such as Switzerland, Indonesia, the Czech Republic, China, Cambodia and Singapore. He was a teacher and administrator in a variety of international schools, which were English-medium schools for students representing an average of 60 nationalities from the business, diplomatic, entrepreneurial and private sectors. The schools he worked at ranged from 45 to 4,000 students. He also helped start the first international charter school in the United States in Monterey, California.
PBLWorks and Kupu Hou Academy (a program out of Mid-Pacific Institute, a medium sized private school on Oahu in Hawaiʻi) are two of the best known project-based, inquiry-based, challenge-based, essential question-based, place-based, culture-based, multiple intelligences-based, teaching and learning PD programs in Hawaiʻi. Leading those programs are Mark Hines, Leigh Fitzgerald and Lisa Mireles. Combined, the deeper learning knowledge of these three individuals is simply staggering. Listen as I dig deep into philosophies of education and best professional development practices with people who are all about the kids. And I do mean all. Currently a Director of District and School Leadership for PBLWorks, Lisa Mireles works with school leaders and complex areas across the state of Hawaii who want to transform student learning experiences using project based learning as the primary lever. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science/International Relations and a Master’s in Education from the UCLA along with a doctorate in Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University. Mark Hines is the Director of Kupu Hou Academy (KHA), which develops and implements programs for teachers and leaders with a focus on Deeper Learning practices. KHA focuses on progressive and research based instructional, assessment and leadership practices including PBL, Inquiry and Deeper Learning. Mark was the the Director of Mid-Pacific eXploratory (MPX) and the Academic Technology Chair at Mid-Pacific Institute. MPX is a grade 9 and 10 program that focuses on integrated, community project-based learning. Students build authentic projects and work on community issues while integrating math, science, technology, language arts, social studies and the arts. In all, he has taught science, math and been involved with technology planning for 38 years. In 2019 Mid-Pacific Institute welcomed a new Vice President of Academic Affairs, Leigh Fitzgerald. She joined Mid-Pacific with 15 years of experience in teaching and educational administration rooted in deeper learning practices. Fitzgerald was most recently executive director of the largest charter school in the state, Hawaii Technology Academy. Prior to leading the school, she was a teacher at Lahainaluna High School and later teacher and principal at Maui Preparatory Academy. Leigh grew up in Cape Cod, MA, and graduated from Brown University (Education and American Civilization) and Harvard University (Education Administration, Planning and Social Policy). To learn more about these programs go to www.midpac.edu and pblworks.org.
I intended at the outset of launching the What School Could Be in Hawaiʻi podcast that this would be a highly collaborative effort. To that end, I pitched to the Kona-based, Hawai’i Department of Education, Kealakehe Intermediate School (public) Hawk Media Program that they would be our podcast post production team. It took them all of five minutes to say yes. In the days, weeks and months since we recorded the first batch of interviews, and then the second batch, my relationship with this team of middle school students (and a couple that have graduated to high school but continue to work in this middle school program), all committed to editing each episode to perfection, has grown and deepened. It has been such a pleasure to get to know – through group texts and emails, and in person – the project manager, Mei Kanada, an 8th grader who loves media and taking care of animals. Likewise, what a thrill to watch young Marlon Utrera, a 7th grader, as he worked to design the cadence and rhythm of the last two episodes, with Susannah Johnson and Zach Morita. It gives me goosebumps listening to Marlon and young Bailey Vierthaler voice episode intros and credits. And the guide-on-the-side, the mentor, the coach, Hawk Media program director, Mathieu Williams? Now I know why he was named our Department of Education, teacher-of-the-year for 2019. The What School Could Be in Hawaiʻi podcast is conversations with innovative, creative, imaginative educators and education leaders who know #whatschoolcouldbe…everywhere. Find the series at MLTSinHawaii.com, Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher and Spotify. Episodes release every Monday morning.
If I were to line up all the people I know who understand individualized learning, Susannah Johnson stands at the front…by a lot. After a career in business she moved to the classroom; the lives of kids have been impacted ever since. She is the kind of teacher (meaning guide-on-the side, sponsor, coach, mentor) I would have thrived with when I was in school 40 years ago. After 12 years in business (fitness management positions and exercise instruction), and years in the classroom at Assets School in Honolulu, she recently formed her own consultancy, called Individualized Realized, LLC. Susannah now works with public, private and charter schools on several continents to help educators and education leaders realize student-driven learning. She has a Master of Education degree in Instructional Leadership from Chaminade University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University. She is a frequent Schools of the Future conference presenter: “The Chaotic Classroom” in 2012, “Unlocking the Exceptional Mind” in 2014, “Individualized Realized” and “Critical Thinking through Individualized Learning” in 2016, and “But Hawaii is Already Diverse” in 2018. To learn more about her work, go to www.individualizedrealized.com.
Alex Teece and his team worked for three years to turn DreamHouse Academy (located in West Oahu) from an idea into a reality. Listen as Alex and I explore how he and his partners designed and developed a public charter school focused on the fusion of identity, leadership, place, culture and student agency. The Hawaiʻi Public Charter School Commission rejected Alex’s first application. Undaunted, the DreamHouse team went back to the drawing board, revamped their academic and financial plans and built community support. Today, 100 students are six weeks into the first year of this innovative, imaginative, creative school. Alex brings educational leadership, finance, fundraising, and teaching experience to DreamHouse, and is currently a full-time doctoral student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his black lab puppy and traveling with his wife to experience new foods, cultures, and places.
Zach Morita takes a very real world, very experiential and progressive approach to music education at Niu Valley Middle School on the east side of Oahu in Hawaiʻi. His students commission musical scores from local artists, compete in Olympic events, collaborate with local chamber music ensembles and much, much more. Listen as Zach and I explore the DNA of music appreciation and exploration, his approach to project-based learning and portfolio assessments, and why his philosophy of teaching and learning music, and life moved me emotionally. Zach is in his 12th year as a music teacher at Niu Valley Middle School. He is a recent winner of the 2018 Farmers Insurance $100,000 Dream Big Teacher Challenge. Zachary has taken student performance groups to New York, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Texas. In the summer of 2019, the Niu Valley Middle School Concert Band performed at the Australian International Music Festival in the Sydney Opera House. He has conducted and directed student groups at the 2017 New York Wind Band Festival in Carnegie Hall, the 2016 National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, the 2014 American School Band Directors Association Conference, and the 2012 Winter Guard International Percussion World Championships. Active in the Hawaii music community, Zach is past Treasurer and ongoing Solo/Ensemble Chairperson for the Oahu Band Directors Association, Associate Music Director of the Honolulu Wind Ensemble, and President/Founder of the Hawaii Youth Percussion Ensemble. Zachary is sponsored by Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks & Mallets, Grover Pro Percussion, and Pearl/Adams Musical Instruments. This is quite a resume for someone just getting started in his teaching career. Send feedback to me, your host, Josh Reppun at MLTSinHawaii@gmail.com.
Luke Ritchie is the Head of School at the Annesley Junior School – tagline: Heritage, Values, Innovation – in Adelaide, Australia (population 1.4 million). Annesley was a school on the brink of collapse not long ago. In this On the Road episode Luke and I talk about how he and his staff, his faculty, his parents and his students transformed Annesley into one of the fastest growing schools in the region. The backdrop of our conversation is the 2019 Leading Schools of the Future pre-workshop for the 2019 Schools of the Future Conference. Luke came to Hawaiʻi to participate as a “leader-mentor” at this pre-conference workshop (attended by 140 public, private and charter leaders) focused on deeper learning and assessments. Listen as Luke outlines the steps he and his community took to redesign and rebuild Annesley into a school focused on student-centered learning, faculty leading as professionals and diverse learning environments. Along the way, hear about the “Crunchy Cafe,” nature hikes with mathematicians and other wonders of student focused school culture. At some point a Myna Bird screams at us. We recorded this episode outside at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center! After Luke and I finished recording, I told him I wanted to attend elementary school again at Annesley.
In this first On The Road episode of the What School Could Be in Hawaiʻi podcast, you will hear a wide ranging conversation about grades, transcripts, rubrics, assessments and topics related to knowing and measuring student learning. Dr. Evan Reppun Beachy is Senior Education Consultant and Director of the Kealaʻula Innovations Institute at Kamehameha Schools (KSBE) in Hawaiʻi. KSBE has three campuses on three islands and serves over 7000 students of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Full disclosure: Evan is both my nephew and one of my mentors. He attended Punahou School, graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Social Anthropology and a Teaching Credential from the Graduate School of Education. Evan has taught in international, private, charter, and public schools in Costa Rica, Hawaii, and California. He attended UCLA to complete his doctorate in Educational Leadership – which emphasized private independent schools – in 2004. Evan has served as an Adjunct Professor in USC’s MAT program bookending teaching experience in a variety of subjects across all K-12 divisions. For the last seven years Evan has worked as Middle School Director and K-12 Dean of Faculty at Crossroads and New Roads schools. His current interests include curricular design and teaching methods, brain research, the incorporation of technology in modern classrooms, modern classroom design, and values based education.