In this last episode of Season 1, Semester 1, Trish Morgan takes our listeners on a magical mystery tour of her Innovative Invention Imaginarium, a maker space and technology laboratory built with a sizable award from the State Farm Foundation, and with the helping hands of her middle school students at Honolulu’s Stevenson Intermediate. It is not in Trish’s DNA to see limits; she apparently fears nothing and sees each waking minute in and out of school as another opportunity to guide, coach and mentor young people towards the better angels of their nature. Her kids are making many things: Most notably, at least this year, they are making prosthetic and accessibility devices for real clients. Yes, fingers for a classmate born without them: A bionic hand for a school alum who fell victim to nectrotizing faciitis (flesh-eating bacteria): A wearable, all-purpose sensor for a young woman who lost her sight. And much, much more. Trish, in her resume, describes herself as an “Innovative, hands-on, and compassionate educator, offering fourteen years of experience in teaching, counseling, professional development, and teacher leadership. Highly qualified English Language Learner (ELL) and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) teacher, with proven expertise in leading students toward academic and personal excellence. Equipped with outstanding ability to make learning accessible to all students through differentiated teaching strategies, positive encouragement, and individualized support.” In terms of awards and grants, we know this about Trish: 100K Farmers Insurance Dream Big Teachers Challenge National Grant: 2017, Lex Brodie’s Above and Beyond Award: 2019, Hawaiʻi Society for Technology in Education, Making It Happen Award: State of California $10K Best Buy Teach Grant. Trish is from California, where she got her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from California State University in Hayward (she graduated cum laude). To learn more about her Imaginarium, Google Trish Morgan; she has been in the news – TV and print – in Hawaiʻi, a lot.
Paul Singer has strong opinions about education, but he comes by them honestly. He spent nearly 30 years as Head at The Country School in Los Angeles, then another 11 as Head at Assets School in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. His experiences in school at a very young age still shape the way he sees the world, and teaching and learning. Paul has been one of Hawaii’s most vocal advocates for individualized, differentiated “meet students where they are” instruction. His life experiences shape the way he thinks kids, the real world and “school” could and should intersect. Now retired from active duty as a head of school, Paul has formed Singer and Associates LLC, which will serve as a progressive education consultancy platform. He also serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Hawaiʻi Association of Independent Schools. From Assets-School.org we hear: “Under Singer’s leadership, Assets acquired the land rights to the school’s campus near the airport and negotiated a merger with the Academy of the Pacific to acquire their Alewa Heights campus, which now houses the Assets High School. He launched the school’s first major capital campaign in decades, already resulting in a new K-4 Village and plans for subsequent efforts on both campuses. His commitment to meeting students where they are also resulted in new after- school and summer programs as well as outreach across the state, sharing Assets’ techniques and strategies with teachers from public and private schools….Singer’s retirement marks the end of a distinguished career as a gifted, progressive educator who has long championed meeting students where they are — academically, developmentally, socially, and emotionally.” Paul served on the faculty at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) for 30 years; he taught in the College of Education Teacher Training Program; he served for 10 years on the Dean’s Advisory Council. He served on accreditation committees for the California Association of Independent Schools for 15 years, serving as Chair for many of those years. He holds a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education, and an M.A. in Educational Administration and Supervision from CSUN. He has also completed doctoral coursework in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Southern California. [Episode music from https://filmmusic.io “I Can Feel it Coming” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).]
I first met Sandy Cameli during a facilitated protocol discussion on synchronous, vs. asynchronous professional development. Her passion for education filled the conference room with energy and spirit. Since then I have witnessed her, many times, facilitating sessions on teacher-leadership; I always come away inspired. In this episode Sandy and I dive deep into professional crushes (on noted education authors), tri-level professional growth, identity of leadership, those special kids we remember always, and how teacher-leadership shifts school culture towards student voice, teacher collaboration and intentional school design. Oh yes, we also talk about how happy days keep the grouchies away! Sandy Cameli got her Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) in Elementary Education at Linfield College in Oregon. She has a Master’s of Education Degree (MEd) in Special Education from the University of San Diego, and a Doctor of Education Degree (EdD) Instructional Leadership from Argosy University in Honolulu. She has been a classroom teacher, lecturer, resource teacher, teacher-leader and much more. She is the Co-Owner of “The Chalkboard,” a retail and tutoring center in Kailua Kona, Hawaiʻi, supporting teachers and students in K-8th classrooms in West Hawai’i schools. Today, she is the Facilitator of Na Kumu Alaka’i Academy, a program of the Hawaiʻi Department of Education Leadership Institute. She is also the current President of the Hawai’i Association of Middle Level Education (HAMLE), and has been published widely. I am forever grateful to Sandy for being such a steadfast supporter of the @MLTSinHawaii “movement.” To learn more about teacher-leadership in Hawaii’s schools, go to https://vimeo.com/362658356. Follow Sandy on Twitter at @DrCameli and @TLA808.
Kristie Fetterly knows first hand how an innovative, imaginative, creative, caring, empathetic teacher bucking the traditional in education can change a young person’s life. Back in the day, a certain Mr. Bergh played that role when Kristie started her senior year in high school. Today, as the Site Director for Hawaiʻi Technology Academy’s Maui Campus (HTA), she is bravely and boldly leading her school community into a bright future full of possibilities and great promises. A member of the 2nd cohort of the Hawaiʻi Innovative Leaders Network, facilitated by PBLWorks, Kristie has her eye firmly fixed on what makes young people most likely to succeed, and what school could be locally, nationally and globally. HTA uses a blended learning model, which grants agency to kids to work on things that matter and are relevant to their lives, individually and collectively. Kristie has a Bachelors in Secondary Education from Pacific Lutheran University: a Masters in Education from University of Washington, Tacoma: an Educational Specialist Degree from Walden University, Baltimore, Maryland: she is working on an Advanced Educational Leadership Certification from Harvard University. Shannon Stanton, Instructional Design, Kent School District, who knows Kristie said the following: From the beginning, it has been apparent that Kristie’s strengths as an educator are more than a list of what she has accomplished. It is how she approaches her work that matters. Kristie is an advocate for teachers as leaders and learners. To learn more about Hawaiʻi Technology Academy, go to https://hi.myhta.org.
Cecilia Chung, otherwise known as CC, is Hawaiʻi’s 2020, State Department of Education, Teacher of the Year. In this 5th on the road episode, CC and I dive deep into her thoughts on Ted Dintersmith’s film, Most Likely to Succeed, her remarkable education journey, how she became an EdTech Jedi coach, her views on student data, student voice, teacher collaboration and celebration, intentional school design, and the meaning of her selection as our teacher of the year. CC currently teaches and learns with an awesome group of sixth graders at Kaimiloa Elementary School in Ewa Beach, Hawaiʻi. She has also worked as a technology integration coach for grades K-6. She is a proponent of student voice and agency for (all) students and loves dialoguing about this topic with others. CC is passionate about working with other educators; she leads and facilitates a variety of workshops for and with the education community. An alumni of the Hope Street, Hawaii State Teacher Fellow program, she has facilitated education-related data collection and focus groups and worked as one of the planning leads for a complex wide teacher conference called Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2). CC is a strong believer in the importance of elevating and celebrating teachers, encouraging teachers to tell their stories via platforms like Twitter and blog posts. She most recently wrote, “Teachers: You Could Be Anywhere Else,” published on Medium. She is President-Elect for the Hawaii Society for Technology in Education (HSTE). She has monitored and provided content for her school Twitter and Instagram handles. She is a self-proclaimed foodie, an accessible introvert and a bookworm! Her Twitter handle is @MSChung808. Oh yes, and she is my former student, now very special friend.
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.