19. Finding the Genius of a Place, with Dan Kinzer

When I first heard Dan Kinzer planned to walk the entire circumference of Oʻahu in order to find its “genius,” I immediately concluded I had to have him on this podcast. Even better, for this 7th “on the road” edition I wanted to catch him on the last day of his two-week walkabout. And so it happened. About 9:00AM on a Monday, as he walked his final miles along Kalanianaʻoli Highway in the morning Hawaiʻi sun, Dan, a cup of coffee in hand, paused in my dinning room and fielded my many questions. We talked about planet walking, exploring Antartica, his projects at international schools around the world and his love of deeper learning. And the “genius of place.” This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun. 

18. Trish Morgan’s Magical, Fantastical Imaginarium

In this conversation, 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 Farmer’s Insurance, 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. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate, near Kona. 

17. Paul Singer, One of Hawaii’s Greatest Assets

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. No, in this episode he does not hold back. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun. 

16. Sandy Cameli, Coach of Teacher Leaders

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. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate, near Kona. 

15. On Being Bold And Brave with Kristie Fetterly

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), and a member of the Hawaiʻi Innovative Leaders Network, she is bravely and boldly leading her school community into a bright future full of possibilities and great promises. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate, near Kona. 

14. Cecilia Chung, Hawaii’s Epic Teacher Of The Year

Cecilia Chung, otherwise known as CC, is Hawaiʻi’s 2020, State Department of Education, Teacher of the Year. In this 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. Oh yes, and CC is now the president of our Hawaiʻi Society for Technology in Education. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun. 

13. Doug Hiu IV, Living Breathing Education

When I first heard Dan Kinzer planned to walk the entire circumference of Oʻahu in order to find its “genius,” I immediately concluded I had to have him on this podcast. Even better, for this 7th “on the road” edition I wanted to catch him on the last day of his two-week walkabout. And so it happened. About 9:00AM on a Monday, as he walked his final miles along Kalanianaʻoli Highway in the morning Hawaiʻi sun, Dan, a cup of coffee in hand, paused in my dinning room and fielded my many questions. We talked about planet walking, exploring Antartica, his projects at international schools around the world and his love of deeper learning. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate, near Kona. 

12. The Umi Project, Intentionally Born

Kay Beach 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 (SEEQS). 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. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate just outside Kona. 

11. Investing in Human Capital, with Robert Landau

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 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 LLC. Editing by your host, Josh Reppun using Alitu. 

10. Three Global Deeper Learning Superheroes

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. This episode was edited by Hawk Media Program students at Kealakehe Middle School. 

This Podcast is About Collaboration

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. 

9. Susannah Johnson is Individualized And Realized

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. 

8. The Dreams of Alex Teece

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. Your host, Josh Reppun edited this episode. 

7. Zack Morita, Jedi Music Man

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. This episode was edited by middle school students at Kealakehe Intermediate outside Kona. Please give us a rating and review in your podcast app! 

6. Luke Ritchie Knows School Transformation

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. 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!

5. Evan Beachy Knows Assessments

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. Evan has a BA from Harvard, a doctorate from UCLA and has taught at Crossroads and Newroads in CA. 

4. Kui Gapero Knows What School Could Be

Kui Gapero loves working with middle school students. It’s safe to say they are his passion. He finds their quirks difficult sometimes, but in the end, they reward and nuture him with their eagerness to learn.  An innovative, creative, imaginative educator at the Kamehameha Schools, Maui Middle School, his work primarily focuses on teaching Hawaiian language and Hawaiian Studies. In truth, Kui sees not line between “school” and “community.” This episode was edited by middle school students at the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Middle School. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator.

3. Katina Soares: Educator, Innovator, Leader

As a kid, Katina Soares attended Molokai’s Kaunakakai Elementary, Molokai Middle and Molokai High School. She has an associate’s degree from the University of Hawai’i, Maui College, a bachelor’s degree from Judson College, a master’s degree from Liberty University and a PhD in education leadership from Walden University. She is a School Retool Fellow and a member of the Hawaiʻi Innovative Leaders Network. She is also a skilled user of The Innovation Playlist. This episode was edited by middle school students at the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Middle School. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator.

2. Melissa Speetjens, Public School Proud

Listen to this episode and you will clearly see that Melissa Speetjens is public school proud. The Principal at Waimea Canyon Middle School on the island of Kauai (the westernmost middle school in the United States), Melissa and her faculty have implemented a dynamic program called “20% Time,” where 6th, 7th and 8th graders spend 20% of every school day working on complicated and complex global issues. Melissa is a mentor in the Hawaiʻi Innovative Leaders Network, a graduate of the Stanford School Retool program and a recipient of one of the 2018/2019 Hawaiʻi Department of Education’s innovation grants. This episode was edited by middle school students at the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Middle School. 

1. Janice Blaber Inverts Maslow

Janice Ochola Blaber, born of parents from Western Samoa and Ecuador, started dreaming about being a teacher in the 1st grade. Today, after managing restaurants and bartending in New York City and Honolulu, getting a graduate degree from University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, holding various public and private school substitute teaching and ELA positions – and much more – she is the Principal at Keaʻau Elementary School on Hawaiʻi Island. This episode was edited by middle school students at the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Middle School. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. (Since this episode aired Janice has become the principal at Kealakehe Middle School in Kona.)

Our Podcast Beta Test

Hey, it’s Josh Reppun coming to you from Hālau ‘Īnana on Oahu. This is a beta test of our first What School Could Be in Hawaiʻi podcast series. Ryan Ozawa and I recorded this 15-minute conversation as a test of our systems. It’s a fun conversation about podcasting in general, and our purposes for developing this series. This podcast series is a partnership between Plexus Education, LLC (DBA @MLTSinHawaii), Ryan Ozawa @Hawaii, and the Kealakehe Middle School media team of students led by Director and our state teacher of the year, Mathieu Williams. Special thanks to Will Reppun, founder of Unrulr, for WordPress, Blubrry and podcast listing technical support. THE FIRST PODCAST EPISODES WILL BE AVAILABLE STARTING SEPTEMBER 2ND. NEW EPISODES WILL BE RELEASED EVERY MONDAY, SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER.