70. Of Green Labs and Piko Pals, with Lianna Lam

Speaking of 1000 points of light, today my guest is Lianna Lam, an educator and leader passionate about community and public schools who views both as places to seed and cultivate Aloha! Lianna’s love for public schools sprouted from her time at Ahuimanu Elementary School on the Windward Side of O’ahu, where she benefitted from loving and dedicated teachers. Lianna holds an environmental engineering degree from University of California at Davis and a Masters in Education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She has worked as an engineer, science teacher, sustainability coordinator and as a STEM Coordinator. As an educator, she believes in the whole child approach,  one that embraces and nurtures the mind, body, and spirit. This belief is most evident in her contributions to building and stewarding the Green Lab at Kaimuki Middle School, an outdoor classroom where she works with students and teachers to explore Hawaii’s environmental sustainability through hands-on, project-based, experiential learning. More recently, Lianna is the co-founder of Piko Pals, a new parent support program that mentors and builds community among parents of newborns. In addition to being a busy mom of three boys, Lianna continues to serve public education and community by contributing, as the Chair, to Waiʻalae Elementary Public Charter School’s Governing Board. Lianna has her feet firmly planted in both the public, and public charter school worlds here in Hawaiʻi, which is why I was so excited to interview her for this episode. In our conversation, we talked about how she became a self-directed learner and creative problem-solver, and why she is such a voracious consumer of books. Lianna’s insights on the nature of learning are brilliant, as are her insights into how to move innovation forward on a school’s campus (hint: small steps lead to big changes). We also talked about the skills, habits and dispositions of wise school leaders, and what educators need from their administrators to innovate. My editor, creative consultant and sound engineer is the wondrously creative, Evan Kurohara. Our original theme music is provided by my friend of 40 years, virtuoso pianist, Michael Sloan. Michael has produced 12 albums with over 100 songs and is featured in Apple Music, Spotify, and all the other major music platforms. You can also find his work at his YouTube channel. He has listeners in over 100 countries and over 2000 cities, to date. Songs featured in this episode include, “Oasis,” “Mysterious Dancer” and “Fuchsia.” Please support this podcast by providing a rating and review at your fav podcast app! The What School Could Be in Hawaiʻi podcast is funded by Ted Dintersmith and WhatSchoolCouldBe.org. Please stay safe, keep wearing your masks in crowded public spaces, and please get vaccinated. Until next time, a hui hou!, and please be in good health. 

Episode Music by Michael Sloan