Podcast

71. (Reissue) Dr. Cara Chaudron, Hawaii’s 2022 Charter School Teacher of the Year

Dr. Cara Chaudron is a math enthusiast born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i. She teaches 6th grade math at the School For Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability, known as SEEQS, a public charter school near and dear to my heart. I have done two previous episodes with SEEQS faculty, including Zoe Ingerson and school founder, Buffy Cushman-Patz. Dr. Chaudron is a shining example of what it means to teach for deeper learning and student engagement. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator.

87. Weaving Together Mastery, Competency and Relevant Learning, with Emily McCarren

Since 2015 Emily McCarren has served as Punahou School’s Academy Principal. Punahou is the largest, and one of the oldest private schools in the United States. Originally from Vermont, Emily graduated from Colby College in Maine where she majored in Spanish and Biology. She served as captain of the Alpine ski team and lacrosse team. Emily holds two master’s degrees: Spanish Literature and Educational Leadership. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Hawaiʻi, where her dissertation examined the role of teacher care on a student’s online learning experience. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

 

86. Reading the Wave, Reading the World, with Lipoa Kahaleuahi

Today my guest is Lipoa Kahaleuahi, innovative educator, deep thinker, champion surfer and the executive director of Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike (also known as Hana Build), a truly remarkable experiential learning program on the island of Maui.  In this conversation, Lipoa and I range widely over a number of topics, including the remarkable way her life is a literal representation of the phrase, “it takes a village.” This episode was edited by the talented, Evan Kurohara. Our theme music and musical interludes come from the vast library of master pianist, Michael Sloan. To help spread the word about this podcast, please give us a rating and review in your favorite podcast app or aggregator.  

85. Rewilding Teaching and Learning, with Ayana Verdi

Ayana Verdi is an educational leader and mother of two who, with her husband John in 2016, established the Verdi Eco School to provide hands-on educational experiences for children in the historic Eau Gallie Arts District of Melbourne, Florida. The school quickly grew to become the first K-8 urban farm school in the southeastern United States and has now expanded to include high school learners.  This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

84. Nothing Less Than Restoring Humanity to Learning, with Chris McNutt

In the About section of his amazing resume Chris McNutt, co-founder of the Human Restoration Project and a digital art and design educator from Columbus, Ohio wrote: “I’m obsessed with revolutionizing education to meet the needs of students. Instead of standardized tests and rote learning, why not create equitable, authentic, and  relationship-centered experiences where students can flourish? Let students lead their educational  pursuits.” This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

83. Denise Karratti: Openness and Grace, Warmth and a Collaborative Spirit

“The best thing about Denise Karratti is not even all of the things she does, it is the way she does them-with complete openness, grace, warmth, and a collaborative spirit. Denise is grounded in our place and invested in all of the people who contribute to our communities. She is a connector and an innovator, and is going to be an incredible [school] administrator in the near future.” (Kristen Brummel, Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellows Coordinator) This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

82. For Chad Carlson, It Starts With One Stone

My guest today is Chad Carlson, the Director of Research and Design at One Stone Lab School in Boise Idaho. Chad is one of the most innovative, creative and imaginative educators and education leaders ever to come across my radar screen. To say he, and One Stone Lab School work “outside the box” is a vast understatement. In all ways, Chad and One Stone dispense with boxes and approach students as bundles of joyful potential and promise, as agents of their own lives and futures. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

81. Dr. Mark Hines, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Deeper Learning

 Today, I welcome back to the show Dr. Mark Hines, the Director of Kupu Hou Academy, and the founder of the Mid-Pacific Explorer program at Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. To his friends and colleagues, Mark is a Jedi warrior who uses The Force to help public, private and charter school educators find their inner deeper-learning practice. “To me, Mark is ‘forever young’ and he approaches each day with an inquiry mindset, open heart, and genuine curiosity about the people and world surrounding him.” (Leigh Fitzgerald) This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator!

80. Janelle Field: Totally Driven, Relentlessly Positive, Always Learning

You have heard the phrase “drinking from a firehose,” right? Well, listeners, you are about to have one of those firehose moments. Fasten your seatbelts because the next hour is going to get pretty crazy. Janelle Field is the PK-12 Teaching and Learning Engagement Coach at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Public Schools located in central Minnesota. When I interviewed her, it was 3 degrees Fahrenheit in her neck of the woods. But inside her schools, the heat was on and the learning was happening, big time. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator!

79. Centering on Love, Justice and History, with Shiloh Francis

In this first episode of 2022, I speak with Hawaiʻi Technology Academy’s (HTA) Shiloh Francis, a remarkable history and government teacher. HTA is a blended learning charter school with seven campuses on four Hawaiʻi islands. Shiloh has leadership roles in two HTA professional development cohorts: The Teacher-Leader Cohort and the  Center for Love and Justice Cohort, among many other projects and roles. She is relentlessly focused on student-driven, real world learning. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

69. (Rereleased) Reading the World, with Dr. Edna Hussey

(This is a re-release of my episode number 69 with Mid-Pacific Institute’s, Dr. Edna Hussey.) Dr. Edna Hussey is a passionate and dedicated educator committed to the advancement of an educated citizenry, children’s rights to quality learning AND the professionalism of teachers. Mention Dr.  Hussey’s name anywhere in Hawaiʻi and you will get mad respect and admiration. Folks say she operates at a different level, which I am sure she would humbly reject. She KNOWS what school could be because she has done it, repeatedly. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator!

78. The Power of Backwards Design, with Darciann Baker

My guest today is Darciann Baker, a faculty member at the Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi campus. Darciann is a Native Hawaiian woman, born and raised in Hawaiʻi. Her entire career has been dedicated to the perpetuation of the Hawaiian language. It is an endeavor she has held close to her heart ever since she found her Hawaiian identity when she was 15 years old. (The special oli, the Hawaiian chant that blesses this episode was written and performed by Kalei ‘A’arona Lorenzo, my guest’s high school classmate and basketball teammate. Mahalo, Kalei for this beautiful beginning to a wonderful episode.) Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator!

77. The Deepest Meanings of Language and Community, with Dr. Julie Mowrer

Speaking of a thousand points of light, my guest today is the deeply insightful, Dr. Julie Mowrer, Acting Director of the Center for Community Engagement at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Dr. Mowrer is also the Director of the English Language Institute (ELI), also at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and the founder of the Bonner Leadership Program. Her dissertation title is: Student Voices at UH Hilo: “Do I Belong Here?” A Case Study on Student Perception of Community-Engaged Teaching & How It Impacts Their Sense of Belonging at UH Hilo.  This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator!

76. Meeting Students Where They Are At, With Wes Adkins

Speaking of a thousand points of light, my guest today is Wes Adkins, a math teacher at James Campbell High School in Ewa Beach, the largest school in all of Hawai‘i. He proudly works in an inclusion classroom, promotes self-paced learning environments, and implements project based learning assessments. Nipsey Hustle and Vector90 inspired him to work in STEM education and teach students the skills for locally minded entrepreneurship. A first generation college graduate and a film buff, Wes won a $25,000 Education Innovation Teacher Challenge grant for his proposal to have his students create the Ewa Beach Drive-In. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

75. The Many Passions and Projects of Educator, Dr. Tammy Jones

Dr. Tammy Jones is a Project Coordinator for PLACES Hawaiʻi at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, supporting teachers on the Waiʻanae Coast to develop place-based curricula. She is also the curriculum developer and co-facilitator of Try Think, a program run in the state correctional facilities and sponsored by the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities. Dr. Jones has worked closely with Dr. Thomas Jackson and the Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education to promote Philosophy for Children Hawaiʻi, known as p4c. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

74. Communications, Deadlines and Teamwork, with Kevin Matsunaga

I have wanted Kevin Matsunaga on my podcast for a long, long time. Kevin never imagined he would follow in his father’s footsteps and become a teacher. He found his calling as the digital media teacher, coach and guide at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on the island of Kauaʻi, and his students have won too many national video competitions to count. In 2007, the Hawai’i Department of Education recognized Kevin with a Kauaʻi District Teacher of the Year award. The impact he has had on kids in our public schools since 2007 is simply staggering. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

73. From Defensive End to Philosopher in Residence, with Chad Miller

A college football defensive end and a philosopher meet at a bar. The defensive end asks, “What’s the meaning of life?” The philosopher replies, “Missed tackles, my friend. To many missed tackles.” Dr. Chad Miller is a former NCAA football star, our 2012 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year, a National Board Certified teacher, and currently a Specialist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Institute for Teacher Education. Dr. Miller also serves as the Director of Teacher Development at the University’s of Hawaii’s Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

72. Russell Motter: Renaissance Man, Raconteur, Teacher and Mixologist Extraordinaire

It’s hard to rank all the things I love about Russell Motter – history teacher, lover of great music, epic thespian, good cook, creative innovator, Atlanta Braves and Falcons fan, among others – but the fact he mixes a mean Sazerac, my favorite cocktail, sits at the top of the list. Russell and I taught together in the history department at ‘Iolani School from 2010 to 2014. When I say taught together, I mean it literally. We team-taught US History, merging our two classes into one very cool section that at times traveled to the outer edges of innovation in education and what history could be. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

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

Lianna Lam is an educator and leader passionate about community and public schools who views both as places to seed and cultivate Aloha! 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. Currently she is leading Kaimuki Middle School on a marvelous journey towards student-driven learning through a project KMS is calling the Voyager Center. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

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69. Reading The World, with Dr. Edna Hussey

My guest for this first episode of our 3rd season is Dr. Edna Hussey, a passionate and dedicated educator committed to the advancement of an educated citizenry, children’s rights to quality learning AND the professionalism of teachers. Mention Dr.  Hussey’s name anywhere in Hawaiʻi and you will get mad respect and admiration. 

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68. On Being The Daylight, with Erin Medeiros

What does it mean to be the daylight for someone? Erin Medeiros is an epic educator at Kanuikapono Learning Center, a K–12 Hawaiian-culture-focused school in Anahola on the island of Kauaʻi in Hawaiʻi. Erin seeks renewal in literature and hiking, biking, or playing at the beach with her educator husband, Jonathon and their two daughters. She views teaching as a deeply creative profession and encourages her students to develop their attention to the past and present, to observe and question life. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

67. Two Epic Teacher-Leaders, Melissa Montoya and Wrayna Fairchild

What must schools do to build caring and connected communities? What is student-driven learning? What learning challenges are authentic and real-world? What must schools do to help students become fully human? What does it mean that “school is in but class is outside”? How can schools help students and staff navigate the complexities of this age of acceleration? Why put Yertle the Turtle on trial?  My guests, Wrayna Fairchild and Melissa Montoya, two charter school educators selected for the Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellows program, take on these questions and much more. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

66. Hawaii’s Living Treasures, Art and Rene Kimura

What does wise school leadership look, sound and feel like? How do we, as a nation, unleash the creativity, the imagination, the innovation that we seem to know already exists in every kid from birth? Profoundly impacted by the Challenger disaster, twenty years ago, Art and Rene Kimura created Future Flight Hawai‘i, a space-themed educational program, while Art, a former teacher and school administrator, was assigned to the Office of Space Industries, part of the Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

65. “Making It” Author, Stephanie Malia Krauss: Part 2

 Part II: What does it mean to live in an “open source society”? What impact is the so-called Age of Acceleration having on your school age children? When did the blue collar, white collar paradigm start to shift? What does it mean to be “cognitively fit”? What is the impact on kids of being hyperconnected but totally alone? Why will going to college or pursuing a postsecondary credential increasingly feel like shopping on a poorly organized Amazon? A few weeks ago Stephanie Malia Krauss published her first book, Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World. Within hours it had rocketed to the top of Amazon’s education category. Why? This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

64. Beautiful Kauai’s Teacher of the Year, Serena Cox

What is parent coaching professional development and how does it help build healthy learning communities? What are co-created rubrics and what is the long term impact of films like Most Likely to Succeed? Serena Cox was a Comprehensive School Improvement Resource Teacher, in the Kauai Complex Area but now is back at Waimea Canyon Middle School as Vice-Principal. She was the Kauai Island Teacher of the Year and a teacher of the year at two middle schools in South Carolina. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

63. The Crazy Busy Puzzle Master, Buddy Leong

Fasten your seatbelts, listeners. This episode is going to blow your mind. Buddy Leong is a senior at Punahou School, which likely makes him 17 or 18 years old. Judging by his LinkedIn profile, he has accomplished more in his short life to date than most of us have accomplished in our lives combined. I think it’s best if I let Buddy introduce himself via the “About” section of his LinkedIn page. Buddy writes, “I’m an aspiring social entrepreneur, youth leader, and investor.” Now that I have teased you, listen to the conversation! This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

62. Robert Pennybacker, Hawaii’s “Can Do” Renaissance Man

When I called Robert Pennybacker a “Renaissance Man” during my interview he seemed not to know why I attached the term to him. I can say with some confidence that folks in Robert’s network see him as exactly that. He is a poet, writer, producer, director, traveler, technologist, deep thinker and the very definition of both a specialist and generalist. He is also one of the founders of HIKI NŌ, arguably the most remarkable state student news network programs on Planet Earth. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

61. Character Teaching Knowledge Practice, with Kaleialoha Aarona-Lorenzo

Kalei ʻAʻarona-Lorenzo is a kumu, or teacher of music, culture and Hawaiian language at the Kamehameha Schools Maui campus. She is the 3rd educator from this campus, including middle school teachers, Kui Gapero and Ululani Shiraishi, that I have featured in this series.  She is a shining example of an educator with both a laser focus and a beautiful, big and expansive view of life, learning, love and humanity. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

60. The Most Beautifully Relevant Learning, with Florence Scott

This was Florence Scott’s first podcast interview so it was understandable that she would text me after the fact asking if it was normal to be rethinking her responses to my questions. In some ways, her text to me illustrates at the deepest possible level who Florence is: A deeply reflective educator who lives and breathes relevant learning. Florence, who teaches at Hawai’i Technology Academy’s Kauai campus believes with all her mind and all her heart that learning is constant day in and day out, year in and year out. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

59. Why Small Schools are Epic, with Jeanne Wilks

What do we do about kindergarten teachers quitting their jobs, citing top down “seat time” mandates as…child abuse? And in what ways did teachers become learners again because of Covid-19? These and other questions are addressed by Jeanne Wilks who served as the Interim Head of Holy Nativity – a small, independent school in East O’ahu – from July 2019. After leading the school during the challenges of transition and COVID-19, the board appointed her permanent Head of School. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

58. “Making It” Author, Stephanie Malia Krauss: Part 1

Part I: What does it mean to live in an “open source society”? What impact is the so-called Age of Acceleration having on your school age children? When did the blue collar, white collar paradigm start to shift? What does it mean to be “cognitively fit”? What is the impact on kids of being hyperconnected but totally alone? Why will going to college or pursuing a postsecondary credential increasingly feel like shopping on a poorly organized Amazon? A few weeks ago Stephanie Malia Krauss published her first book, Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World. Within hours it had rocketed to the top of Amazon’s education category. Why? This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan.  To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator. 

57. Teacher Surfer Writer Builder Poet: Jonathon Medeiros

What do teachers need from their administrators? According to Jonathon Medeiros a bit of magic. What magic, you ask? Jonathon writes: “Too often, while teachers are reaching toward our students, inviting them in and making them feel valuable, administrators are planning meetings in air-conditioned offices by filling time slots and checking compliance boxes instead of thinking about who their teachers are, what we might need, what we bring to the table. These are opportunities missed.” Jonathon has been teaching and learning about Language Arts and rhetoric for 15 years with his students on Kauaʻi. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

56. Traveling to Two Moons, with Matthew Tom

What can we educators do to insure that kids coming out of elementary school don’t have their natural, innate curiosity, creativity and ingenuity crushed out of them by middle school, and later, high school? What is student-driven learning and what is the real meaning of student agency? In this episode I interviewed Matthew Tom, a writing teacher and media specialist formerly at RL Stevenson Middle School, now at Kaimuki Middle School. Matthew engages his students in ways I find completely inspiring and want everyone to know about. This episode was edited by the talented Evan Kurohara. Our theme music comes from the vast catalogue of pianist, Michael Sloan. To support this podcast, write us a review and give us a rating in your favorite podcast app or aggregator! 

55. Unrulr’s Capturing Learning, with Fred Delse and Will Reppun

What does it mean when we talk about “capturing” learning (as if learning is some sort of fish in the sea)? What is the relationship between student and teacher when student-driven learning sits at the core of the classroom, or learning space? It’s these and other essential questions Fred Delse and Will Reppun tackled when they decided to found and develop the learning capture app, Unrulr, which is now being tested and used by public, private and charter schools here in Hawaiʻi.  “What makes Unrulr special is that it speaks the language of social media, which is the parlance of today’s youth. Being able to express yourself with words, pictures, videos and other formats means that you can paint a really unique picture of who you are and what you’ve done.” (Evan Beachy) Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

54. Aaron Jamal Schorn, Capstone Man

My guest today for this final episode of Semester 1 of Season 2 is Aaron Jamal Schorn, Nalukai Foundation Program and Academy Startup Camp Director, and Capstone Coordinator at Hawai’i Preparatory Academy on Hawai’i Island. At Nalukai, Aaron creates and implements curriculum, hustles to find mentors and teaches digital storytelling. Outside of Nalukai he is focused on creating student-centered systems to authentically tell the story of learning communities. (Since this episode’s release Aaron has also become Director of Community Development for Unrulr.) Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

53. Writer, Poet, Teacher, Mother, TFA Alum: Jannica Breslin

Metamorphosis, dragon flies, Hoʻokipa writers, coffee talks, Poetic Couture, Carol Dwek and finding the Filipina within, oh my!  My guest today is Jannica Breslin in an episode I am calling my Teach for America Special. This is a partnership with Jill Baldemor, the Executive Director of Teach for America Hawai`i. When I offered Jill the opportunity to name a TFA Hawaiʻi alum to be on this podcast, after some consideration, she named Jannica Breslin. In this episode Jannica and I ranged across a variety of subjects including her passion for writing, her love of vulnerabilities and growth mindsets, her Aloha for TFA and what it takes to get middle school kids excited about words. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

52. Marching for Justice and Planet Earth, with Kawika Ke Koa Pegram

 What exactly is student voice? This question has become the hot topic in public, private and charter schools here in Hawaiʻi, for which I am glad. Sometimes the conversation revolves around giving students agency over their learning. At other times we talk about public exhibitions of learning and the ways students might articulate what they know and what they can do. Conversations around student activism, especially around ways to encourage kids to be politically active, seem fewer and farther between. I wonder sometimes if we are afraid to encourage this kind of deep community involvement for fear that parents might object or schools might feel liable. My guest today is Kawika Ke Koa Pegram, a recent graduate of Waipahu High School now matriculating at American University in Washington, DC. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

51. She Lives On The Edge Of Her Seat: Ululani Shiraishi

I have learned, as a podcast host, that some episode interviews are question and response, and some conversations are more…intimate. My episode here with Ululani Shiraishi is decidedly the latter. Ululani gave me a gift during this interview, a phrase I will use in my life going forward: Working at the edge of your seat. She comes from a place of part frenzy crazy, and part deliberate intentional. And she is always, always working at the edge of her seat. Ululani is a Kamehameha Schools Maui campus middle school language arts teacher who is deep into SEL, Hawaiian culture and trans-disciplinary teaching and learning. Editing services provided by DG Sound Creations. 

50. Questing to Find the Golden Fleece with Argonaut Chris Balme

Chris Balme, my guest for this episode, writes: “Middle school is one of life’s great forks in the road. As the time when puberty begins and thus incredible neurological changes are taking place, middle school has an outsized impact on child development. For some students, it’s the time they begin to find their voice, their social identity, their sense of self in a bigger world.” Chris is the founder of the Millennium School and the Argonaut School in the Bay Area. He is also a warm, funny and caring educator who wants make “school” all that it could be. Editing done by your host, Josh Reppun using Alitu. 

49. A Reverence for Student-Centered Learning, with Kumu Kaulana Smith

The Kupu Hou Special: When I asked my dear friends, Mark Hines and John Cheever at Kupu Hou Academy to recommend a Kupu Hou friend and supporter to interview for this podcast, they both immediately and enthusiastically recommended Po’o Kumu Kaulana Smith. Kumu Kaulana is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School located near the ocean in a small township on the northeast shore of Hawaiʻi Island. In this conversation Kaulana and I ranged across education in ancient Hawaiʻi to the broad expanse of project-based learning. My editor, show consultant and sound engineer is Daniel Gilad at DG Sound Creations.

48. Our 2019 Hawaii State Teacher of the Year, Mathieu Williams

My guest today is Mathieu Williams, our 2019 State Teacher of the Year who constantly strives to be…better. It’s why I love the man, why I admire him so much, why everyone in Hawaiʻi, public, private, charter and community admires him so much and why his students love working with him. He is the ultimate guide, coach, sponsor and mentor of our Hawaiʻi youth, and for that, we are all grateful. Mathieu is the Director of the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate near Kona. His students edited this and all my early episodes. 

47. She’s Been Published!, with Danielle Mizuta

To be a learning coach, a teacher-leader, an educator coach and an expert on kids with special needs, some on the autistic spectrum, you have to be a deeply empathetic person…right down to your core. Danielle Mizuta has empathy in spades. Empathy is in her DNA. I have known this for a long, long time. She and I got our graduate degrees about the same time, in the late 90s. Over the years she has been a tremendous supporter of my @MLTSinHawaii “movement,” at film screenings, event design sessions and professional development workshops. So it is with great pleasure that I present newly minted author, Danielle in a wide ranging conversation about teaching and learning. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

46. The Genome of SEEQS, with Buffy Cushman-Patz

In schools, as in life, the commodity in shortest supply is time. How we spend our time is how we enact our values (SEEQS.org). Buffy Cushman-Patz and I have known each other for a long time. Mere words cannot capture the enormous respect I have for her and the work she has done in our community. And, it was my high privilege to be on the team she assembled to write SEEQS charter. So what is SEEQS? It’s the School for Examining the Essential Questions of Sustainability, a secondary public charter school in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi founded in 2013. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

45. Coastal Erosion and Other Subjects, With Dan Gaudiano

Dan Gaudiano is the Academy Science Department Head at Punahou School. He has a BA in geology from Colgate University. At the University of South Carolina Columbia he earned an MS in geology, and then a  Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). Dan has written in scientific journals, authored scientific papers, been a coastal geologist and a scientific researcher. Most of all, what you get from reviewing Dan’s body of work so far is that he cares deeply about kids and learning. There is no doubt that he has a growth mindset and is continually developing his teaching practice. In this interview Dan and I talked about inch deep and a mile wide, vs. posthole learning. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

44. All Good Things are Wild and Free, with Christina Hoe

“All Good Things Are Wild and Free” (Henry David Thoreau). As it turns out this episode is four years in the making. At the very start of my work with Ted Dintersmith and his film, Most Likely to Succeed, Christina Hoe, a humanities teacher at Le Jardin Academy, reached out to me via an intermediary and asked to bring all 77 of her students to my 2nd MLTS screening in January, 2016. What followed was a wild and crazy ride that resulted in her students doing a deep dive into education. Four years later, Christina is my interview guest! How cool is that? Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

43. The Epic Journey of Lory Peroff, So Far

At the end of this episode Waikiki Elementary School educator, Lory Peroff read the following excerpt from a poem: The people I love the best, Jump into work head first, I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, Who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, Who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, Who do what has to be done, again and again. (Marge Percy “To Be of Use”) Amen, Lory! Lory’s journey, in this episode, starts with the Pease Corps in Uzbekistan, moves to Tonga, then to Boston and ultimately to Hawaiʻi. Along the way her focus is relentlessly on kids. Editing services provided by DG Sound Creations. 

42. Matthew Lynch, Building Sustainability Initiatives

Matthew Lynch and I recorded this interview back on March 24th, just as the Covid-19 “shelter-in-place” lockdown began in Hawaiʻi. What we planned to do in person suddenly had to be done via Zoom. The resulting audio is pretty sketch, but wow, Matthew and I covered some serious ground over a 90-minute conversation. Matthew is the Director of Sustainability Initiatives for all 10 campus of the University of Hawaiʻi system. Four years ago we met at a special Ted Dintersmith-hosted gathering at PBS Hawaiʻi. At the time I recall Matthew telling me, to my utter astonishment, that the UH systems had no sustainability degree. In Hawaiʻi? What? Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

41. When Your Teacher is a Trained Ballerina, with Heather Baylosis

Imagine a place where your lead elementary school teacher is a trained ballerina with a propensity for breaking out the dance moves during a lesson. Look no further than Maui and Heather Baylosis, a creative, imaginative and innovative teacher at Hawaiʻi Technology Academy’s Maui Campus. HTA is a seven-campus public  charter school (on four islands) that uses a blended learning model. Over more than an hour’s interview Heather and I ranged across topics related to blended learning, differentiated instruction, distance learning in the time of Covid-19, teaching the “whole child” and team building at the elementary level. Editing by DG Sound Creations. 

40. Here’s to the Crazy Ones, with Brian Dote (Part 2)

In Part 2 of this episode, Brian Dote, the Chief Innovation Officer at Mid-Pacific Institute in Hawaiʻi, dives deep into ideas and concepts around educator professional development, the so-called “21st century transcript,” the wild and wonderful things happening at Waipahu High School,  how he deliberately and intentionally worked to develop his skills, habits and dispositions, and his proximity to the Black Swan event that was the first iPhone. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

39. Here’s to the Crazy Ones, with Brian Dote (Part 1)

Brian Dote has been orbiting near “Black Swan” (type) events all of his professional life. To qualify as a “Black Swan,” an event has to be: Completely unpredictable and rare: Hugely impactful: People love to say after the event, we saw it coming (which they didn’t). Brian worked on Steve Jobs’ team that designed, built and launched the first iPhone, which changed the arc of and accelerated the course of history. In Part I of this episode, we talk about how he worked near the center of the Human Genome Project and eventually became the Chief Innovation Officer at Mid-Pacific Institute in Hawaiʻi. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

38. Being the Change They Want to See, with Robyn Vierra

In one of my longer episodes Robyn Vierra, the Director of Global Education at Punahou School, and I range across a wide variety of subjects, including a day in the life of her 4th grade classroom, what it really means to have a global perspective, the dangers of “keeping it simple” during the 2020 Covid-19 crisis, models of distributed work in this 21st century, Kozol’s “Savage Inequalities,” competency-based learning and what it means to let kids be the change they want to see. Robyn is also the Associate Director of the Wo International Center at Punahou School. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

 

37. Miki Cacace, OUR Hawaii Milken Award Winner

Meet Rob, Colin, Abbie and Miki, collectively known as the Cacace family. Colin and Abbie are a couple of wonderful rowdy kids, Rob works at the Myron B. Thompson Public Charter School and Miki is OUR Hawaiʻi 2019/2020 Milken Family Fund Award winner from Ewa Makai Middle School. It is hard to put into words what Miki has already accomplished in her career as a teacher, guide, mentor, coach. All the boxes – student agency, experiential learning, teacher collaboration, intentional design, problem-based learning, challenge-based learning, social and emotional inclusion, product-based learning, individualized inquiry, teacher as marketing agent – have already been checked. But Miki, in so many ways, is just getting started. Editing provided by DG Sound Creations. 

36. Fasten Your Seatbelts: It’s Justin Brown Time

I first met Justin Brown four years ago at a small Most Likely to Succeed film screening at West Hawaiʻi Explorations Academy just outside Kona. After the film, Justin (who mentors, guides and coaches kids in Kealakehe High School’s CTE, STEM and maker spaces) sat at the far end of a small panel examining the essential questions raised by Ted Dintersmith’s film. He spoke last in the first round and I recall being instantly blown away by his global understanding of public, private and charter school education. In this episode Justin asks, Why don’t more kids like school? This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate just outside Kona. 

35. Leslie Witten Knows Distance Learning

As the COVID-19 crisis began to roll over Hawaiʻi, I reached out to a group of trusted education friends and asked for the names of potential guests who could speak clearly to the conceptual, and technical nature of so-called distance learning. Very quickly my colleagues suggested Leslie Witten, and glad I am that they did. Leslie is an education technology specialist at Le Jardin Academy, a medium sized independent school on the Windward side of Oahu. She has a BA from UCLA in ethnomusicology and a M.Ed. from National University with an emphasis on 21st century learning and teaching methodologies and constructivism. Your host, Josh Reppun edited this episode. 

34. Whitney Aragaki on the Noble Profession

To say Whitney Sayuri Aragaki speaks passionately about education is to make a vast understatement. Over a wide ranging conversation about learning “holistically,” indigenous ways of knowing and doing, teacher empowerment, building educator capacity, preparation for 21st century workspaces, student engagement and what makes her hometown, Hilo, so special, her voice came through, time and again, loud and very clear. Whitney is a science teacher at Waiakea High School on Hawaiʻi Island. (And now, in 2022, our Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year.) This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate outside Kona. 

33. Climbing Summits and Exploring Questions, with Wasfia Nazreen: Part 2

In part 2 of my interview with Wasfia Nazreen, we explore a range of issues related to her life as a climber, her leadership in the outdoor world, the elevation and education of women, and her relationship with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.  If you are reading this episode description before you listen to the interview, I recommend you watch her short, award winning film, produced by Apple, Inc., and National Geographic. Wasfia was in Hawaiʻi in the Spring of 2020 for a series of school and pubic speaking events sponsored and organized by Hawaiʻi Technology Academy, a blended learning charter school with seven campuses on four Hawaiʻi islands. This episode was editing by your host, Josh Reppun. 

32. Steve Sue Makes a Very Tasty Lemonade

What a privilege to interview Steve Sue (in his Kaimuki, Honolulu kitchen, ergo the sounds of traffic and songbirds) for one of my “on the road” episodes. Steve is the “Chief Lemon Head” at Lemonade Alley, a youth entrepreneur program, and Chairman of Bizgenics Foundation, a Hawaii-based 501(C)(3) nonprofit. In a wide ranging, hour-long conversation, Steve and I tackle some of the pressing issues related to entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, imagination and business in K-12 education. Steve’s energy is infectious, and his optimism is reassuring. He is quick on the draw and sees everything from a 360 perspective. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun.

31. Climbing Summits and Exploring Questions with Wasfia Nazreen: Part 1

Wasfia Nazreen absolutely loves life. This became very clear during my interview with her for this 12th the-road-episode. She is funny, insightful, deep, kind and compassionate, among other qualities. My questions revolved around finding freedom, the role of mindfulness in schools, learning to make decisions and think critically in life threatening situations (as in climbing massive mountains), how teachers can become guides and mentors, and how she documents her life, thoughts and insights. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun. 

30. Derek and Micah: Two Student-Centered School Leaders

 In this episode, we hear from Micah Hirokawa, Head of School at Hakipu’i Academy Public Charter School, and Derek Minakami, Principal at Kaneohe Elementary School. These two schools are literally a couple miles apart on Oahu’s Windward Side. Both Derek and Micah are members of the Hawaiʻi Innovative Leaders Network. Both have much to say about what student-centered education looks, sounds and feels like. Both are passionate about grounded and relevant life-long learning. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate outside Kona. 

29. Melissa Handy’s Brilliant Maker Mindset

Where do we start with Melissa Handy? Well, we start with the fact that her parents, in Pennsylvania, were both teachers. Even better, her father was her 5th grade teacher. Melissa writes, “My love for education started sprouting young.” I have known Melissa for a bunch of years, so it was pretty special to have her on this podcast. Needless to say, I had been looking forward to the moment for months. Melissa is a brilliant, brilliant thinker, and doer. She is the Education Technology Director at Le Jardin Academy, a small independent school on the Windward Side of O’ahu. She is the Past President of the Hawaiʻi Society for Technology in Education. and she is a champion robotics coach. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate near Kona. 

28. Of Goats, Anthropology and EdTech, with Shawna Gunnarson

Shawna Gunnarson has a heart as big as Montana. She exudes compassion, humor, kindness, innovation, creativity and imagination; on top of all that, she and her Mom founded the Dancing Goat Sanctuary, a place for wayward animals, energetically guarded by Starsky & Hutch, two frat-like goats. Oh yes, and she is an epic educator at Konawaena Middle School on Hawaiʻi Island (otherwise known as the Big Island), which is what brought her to this podcast. Listen as Shawna and I explore her learning journey and teacher practice. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate near Kona. 

27. Seeking Essential Questions, with Zoe Ingerson

 Listen to my guest, Zoe Ingerson and you will hear a strong, clear, articulate and intelligent voice for student agency, the joy of learning (and writing), inquiry-based, discovery-based education, teacher collaboration, intentional school design and what school could be. Zoe is Hawaii’s 2020 Charter School Teacher of the Year, but more than that, she is the embodiment of her school’s mission and vision. She teaches at the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability.  This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate, near Kona. 

26. There is No Doubt Lori Kwee Changes Lives

Lori Kwee has been changing the lives of kids for more than 30 years, and for that the State of Hawaiʻi and a legion of parents surely are very grateful. After listening to this episode, you will find it easy to imagine what it’s like being at Ala Wai Elementary in the presence of this mentor, guide and sponsor of young children. You will find it easy to imagine her kids saving the Vaquita dolphin, developing a school culture that nurtures bullies towards kindness and compassion, and diving deep into the essential questions of life and learning. One of the reasons Lori can do what she does is the support of her visionary Principal, Michelle DeBusca. (Lori is now our 2021 HIDOE Teacher of the Year.) This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate, near Kona. 

25. For Chris Stapleton, Cultural Context Really Matters

 The first thing that jumps out at you when Chris Stapleton speaks is how passionate he is: About school, about life, about cultural context, about education technology and about what happens when kids from Korea come to study in Hawaiʻi (and vice versa). In this new format, which I am calling “Ten Questions For,” Chris defined the role of international schools, tackled the big issues of our New Pacific Century, zeroed in on what makes for great education technology, and raised objections to using the word “project” so much. Oh, and he took on a half-dozen other questions as well. His voice is clear and his responses thoughtful. This episode was edited by students in the Hawk Media Program at Kealakehe Intermediate, near Kona. 

24. Ten Epic Questions for Helen Turner, Part 2

It’s not often one gets to talk to a brilliant scientist about college admissions and Paul Tough’s book “The Years That Matter Most,” Ken Jennings vs. an artificial intelligence, an internship at Google vs. a Harvard undergraduate degree, Stanford University’s wondrous document “Uncharted Territory,” and the incredible insights of excellent indigenous science. Even better is the fact that I caught all of this conversation on tape and can present it here in this podcast. Dr. Helen Turner is the VP for Strategy and Innovation at Chaminade University, a small, private college sitting on a lovely hillside above the city of Honolulu. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun. 

23. Ten Epic Questions for Helen Turner, Part 1

 It’s not often one gets to talk to a brilliant scientist about artificial intelligence, college admissions, David Epstein’s book, “Range,” the scary questions of biology and the incredible insights of excellent indigenous science. Even better is the fact that I caught all of this conversation on tape and can present it here in this podcast. Dr. Helen Turner is the VP for Strategy and Innovation at Chaminade University, a small, private college sitting on a lovely hillside above the city of Honolulu. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun. 

22. Yes, Hawai’i Kids CAN!

What’s the best thing I can offer educators and community members as we start the New Year 2020? The unmistakably clear voices of two remarkable students at the very beginning of their life-long learning journeys. In this episode, meet Phoenix Maimiti Valentine and Dayevin Bunao; both are student advocates-in-training with HawaiiKidsCAN, an innovative nonprofit that seeks to help students dive deep into the legislative process…that they might help shape the future of Hawaiʻi and level the playing field for everyone in this state. Oh, and HIKIDSCAN’s Executive Director, David Miyashiro, is also part of this conversation. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun.

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21. A Progressive’s Progressive, Amber Makaiau

 I taught Amber Strong her Advanced Placed United States History 25 years ago. Recently, we came onto each other’s radar again and began working on some projects related to educator professional development. As we do this work, I continue to reflect how many kids’ lives have been impact by Amber’s work over the past two decades. The number has to be enormous, and is beyond staggering. Amber is now the Director of Hanahau’oli School’s Professional Development Center, which is offering intimate and targeted PD around teaching social justice, climate change, art, equity and much, much more. She remains on the faculty at the Univ. of Hawaiʻi at Manoa’s COE. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun.

20. Kanoelani Elementary Chooses Love

As soon as I walked on Stacie Kunihisa’s campus I knew something different was happening. Two student ambassadors guided me on a tour of classrooms and project spaces, and spoke to me at length about how campus culture had changed as a result of a “movement” called Choose Love. Both felt that kids were related to each other in ways not seen before. Kanoelani Elementary is a carnival of interesting ideas and concepts in motion, and Stacie is clearly the catalyst, the transformational leader building a choose love campus culture. This episode was edited by your host, Josh Reppun. 

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.