S1:E4 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.  Outside the KSBE Maui campus, Kui is a volunteer with community organizations and participates in a variety of Hawaiian cultural practices.

In truth, Kui sees no line between “school” and “community.” Both are richly cultural places of learning.  Born on the island of Maui, he attended public school there until boarding at the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus on Oahu for middle and high school.  He earned his B.A. in Hawaiian Language after he took a “short-vacation” to Iraq as an infantryman with the Hawaii Army National Guard.  He then taught at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama, worked as a Cultural Program Specialist with the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission, lectured at the University of Hawaii at Maui College, then settled into his current position as a middle school educator at Kamehameha Schools Maui.

Listen as Kui describes his strengths, weaknesses, his love of learning, his interest in non traditional assessments and his absolute love of learning. Along the way, you will hear him laugh…a lot. 

This episode was edited by AJ Rosario, a 9th grader at Kealakehe High School and contributing member of the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate. AJ was assisted by Mei Kanada, our podcast’s Hawk Media, editor-in-chief.

S1:E3 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 has been a child care provider, a college academic advisor, a public school counselor and both a public and charter school vice-principal.

Two years ago, in 2017, she fulfilled a life-long dream when she was appointed Principal at Molokai High School, which is in the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education’s “Canoe Complex.” (This complex includes schools on Maui, Lanai and Molokai.) Katina is a strong advocate and supporter for education innovation, creativity and imagination on her campus. She is also a great fan of Ted Dintersmith’s film, “Most Likely to Succeed” and his book, “What School Could Be,” employing both effectively to transform her community. She is using Ted’s InnovationPlaylist.org to help infuse her faculty, staff and students with a micro-innovation theory of change.

She has written: “I truly believe, when delivered effectively, education can give each generation, not only knowledge and skills, but the passion and power to become positive agents of change in their local and global community.”

This episode was edited by Mei Kanada, an 8th grader in the Kealakehe Intermediate, Hawk Media program on Hawaiʻi Island.

S1:E2 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. Students self-select into themes such as peace and justice, or ocean sustainability; they train in design thinking; they immerse themselves, with their teacher guides and coaches, into project-based learning; they prepare for public exhibitions of learning (called student showcases); and, they put the needs of family and community front and center.

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. She also loves to quote John Dewey.

Please subscribe to this podcast! And don’t forget to give us a rating and leave a review. There will be a new episode every Monday, September  through November, 2019. Have an innovative guest in mind? Send information to MLTSinHawaii@gmail.com, or go to MLTSinHawaii.com.

This episode was edited by Mei Kanada, a middle school student in the Hawk Media program at Kealakehe Intermediate on Hawaiʻi Island.

S1:E1 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.

Listen as Janice and I talk about education innovation, creativity, imagination, Deeper Learning, her hopes and dreams for her Kea’au Elementary School and #WhatSchoolCouldBe. We record episodes for Season 1, Semester 1 and Semester 2 at Hālau ‘Īnana, a remarkable innovation space designed and built by Kamehameha Schools.

This episode was post-produced by Kealakehe Intermediate’s Hawk Media Productions, under the guidance of State Teacher of the Year, Mathieu Williams. Ryan Ozawa is our podcast development Jedi, marketing consultant and sound engineer. Subscribe to get episodes each Monday! For more about this series, go to MLTSinHawaii.com. Send us feedback at mltsinhawaii@gmail.com. 

This episode was edited by Mei Kanada, an 8th grader in the Hawk Media program at Kealakehe Intermediate.

WSCBH Podcast News!

Hey future fans of the What School Could Be in Hawaiʻi podcast series, we are now officially in the iTunes and Google Play Music stores. This is great news! My huge thanks to Will Reppun (my nephew), Co-Founder of Unrulr, for helping me navigate the semi-complicated process of applying to these platforms. Soon, as I navigate this steep, steep learning curve, we will be on Spotify and other podcasting platforms. Stay tuned, and follow us on Twitter @MLTSinHawaii and @joshreppun! If you share this on Twitter tag us with #WhatSchoolCouldBe and #MLTSFilm. 

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.