Hawaii State Teacher Fellows

Kevin Agtarap

Kevin Agtarap is a fourth-grade teacher at Ka`imiloa Elementary. He has taught in third and sixth grades, served as a curriculum coach, and heads the Visual Arts afterschool program. He has mentored prospective teacher candidates and currently serves as a member in his school’s Ci3T team. He was selected to participate in the STEM-focused Mickelson ExxonMobil Teacher Academy, has presented at Schools of the Future, Google Summit, and Visible Learning Conferences. Additionally, he helped to launch the first EdCamp West Oahu. Kevin earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Education and his Master’s degree in Curriculum Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Kevin's How to Incorporate Visual Literacy in Your Instruction

Cornelio "CJ" Ancheta

Cornelio “CJ” Ancheta is currently a Mathematics Teacher at Lahainaluna High School. He actively served as the chair of the Parent, Open House, and Graduation Committee, co-coordinator of the PBL Student Showcase, and a recipient of the 2020 Innovation Grant Award. Cornelio is passionate about Project and Problem Based Learning, completing the Kupu Hou Academy at UH Maui College. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Agricultural Engineering from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos. Cornelio's advocacy of STEM led him to volunteer as the current Co-Director of the Maui Regional Science Olympiad.

CJ's Growing in PBL

Jessica Barbera

Jessica Barbera is currently a kindergarten teacher in Honolulu. In the summer she collaborated with teachers from different islands to team-teach "Mad Scientists", a PreK through first grader class in the innovative Virtual Summer Learning Lab. Jessica is passionate about learning from and collaborating with her students, parents, colleagues and members of the community in order to become a better, more effective teacher. She is especially proud of her participation in the Lemon Tree Project & Kindergarten Greenhouse at Jefferson Elementary, as well as her work with introducing new technology to her students and families. Jessica earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Hawaii Pacific University.
Jessica's Building Trusting Relationships can Move Schools Forward

Luca Barcenilla

Luca Barcenilla is currently an eighth-grade Computer Science teacher at Nānākuli High and Intermediate School. Luca has taught at a variety of grade levels, in both general and special education, from middle school to high school. His classroom experiences have been in Computer Science, English Language Arts, and Math as well as spending a year in his school’s IT department serving as a technology education specialist and website administrator. When he’s not changing his sons’ diapers, he enjoys learning about new ed tech resources and spending an occasional hour or eight playing World of Warcraft. Luca is a Kamehameha Schools Kapālama graduate, received his BA in English from the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu and his MEd from the Chaminade University of Honolulu.

Luca's podcast: All Access Computer Science

Chayanee Brooks

Chayanee is currently teaching AP English and 11th/12th grade English at Ka'u High and Pahala Elementary school on Hawaiʻi Island. Prior to moving to Hawaii, she taught at an international school in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a candidate for National Board Certification, is HTSB licensed to teach secondary English, TESOL, and science, and is a Google Certified Educator. Additionally, she is an Advanced Placement reader for AP Seminar and a Smarter Balanced ELA item writer. She enjoys mentoring beginning teachers and is the National Honor Society co-advisor. Chayanee is setting up a Girls Who Code club at school and her passion is bringing out student voice through seminar discussions and class activities. She is a graduate of National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) in Bangkok with a Master's in English Language and Communication and of Chulalongkorn University with a Bachelor's Degree in teaching English and Thai.
Chayanee's: Incorporating Design Thinking in the Study of Literature

Wrayna Fairchild

Public Charter Schools
Wrayna is a proud 5th/6th grade teacher at Voyager Public Charter School. She has taught in DOE, charter, private and international (Germany and Spain) schools. Wrayna received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from California State University Channel Islands and her Master of Library and Information Science degree from UH Manoa. Wrayna has been recognized as a NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow (Peru), Next Generation Science Teaching Program cohort, GLOBE Mission Earth Educator, Fund for Teachers Awardee (New Zealand and Galapagos Islands), Voya Unsung Heroes Award, ASCD Emerging Leader and Mental Floss’ Innovators in Education Platypus Award. Wrayna has a true passion for STEM, specifically environmental education, and integrates project-based and place-based scientific inquiry. Wrayna is an active in the Hawaii State Teacher Association, National Science Teachers Association and the DonorsChoose Teacher Ambassador program. Wrayna enjoys volunteering with Make-A-Wish Foundation as a Wish Granter and traveling internationally.
Wrayna's article: How to Tap into Students' Interests with a TED Talk Unit

Nicole Heinlein

Nicole Heinlein is an English Learner teacher and program coordinator at ‘Īao Intermediate School on the island of Maui. She began her HIDOE career on Lāna‘i before moving over to Maui. She has taught in all grades PreK-8.
Nicole is a National Board Certified Teacher in Literacy and is a trainer for the OCDE Project GLADⓇ model of English Learner strategies. She is currently the HSTA Maui Chapter Elections Co-chairperson. Nicole earned a BA in Education with minors in Special Education and Spanish from the University of Oregon, an MAT in ECE and Elementary from Pacific University, and ESOL and Reading endorsements from Lewis & Clark College.

Nicole's Excellence Module 6: Classroom Connections

Michael Ida

Michael is a math and computer science teacher at Kalani High School who also serves as department chairperson and is an advisor for the National Honor Society, Kalani Oahu Mathematics League team, and computer science club. A 25-year veteran of the brick-and-mortar classroom as well as a recent addition to the E-School teaching staff, Michael is the treasurer for the Hawaii Council of Teachers of Mathematics, co-head grader for the Oahu Mathematics League, and Advanced Placement exam reader in calculus. He has served as a WASC visiting team member, in addition to being a National Board certified teacher and PAEMST state finalist. Michael has a BS from California Institute of Technology, MS and PhD from Northwestern University, and MEd from Boston College. As a passionate lifelong learner, Michael believes that the hunger to keep growing and learning is the greatest gift that teachers can bestow on students.
Michael's Developing Students' Ethical Thinking in STEM Classes

Ashley Mika Ito-Macion

Pearl City-Waipahu
Ashley Mika is a second grade teacher at Kanoelani Elementary School. She finds many ways to serve student, school, and educator communities. She loves her role as the Kanoelani Rainbow Recyclers Advisor and working to increase sustainability.
She is grateful for educators who inspire her to do and be better. Through the community of teachers on the Hawaii Distance Learning Forum and planning the teacher-led Grow with Us Summer Virtual Conference, she's met so many amazing educators! Ashley Mika married her second grade sweetheart who helped her develop the Hawaii Distance Learning Forum in April 2020. She is a happy mom of a seven year old son who loves being creative and launched his own face shield company!

Ashley's Well-being- Even Adults Need It

Stacie Kaichi-Imamura

Office of Curriculum & Instructional Design
Stacie Kaichi-Imamura is a Mathematics Resource Teacher for the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design. She is a National Board Certified Teacher with an Early Childhood Generalist certificate. In 2004, Stacie was awarded the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She completed Na Kumu Alaka’i in 2008 and currently serves as the President for the Hawaii Council Teachers of Mathematics. Stacie has worked in the HIDOE at multiple levels: classroom, school level, district/complex, and State. As a proud graduate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Stacie has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Trisha Kodama

Trisha is a second career fourth grade teacher at Ali’iolani Elementary School. She has also taught Kindergarten, fifth grade, and spent two years as the STEM/Technology Coordinator. Trisha has a Bachelor’s Degree in Japanese from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Her love of teaching started as a substitute teacher, which then led Trisha to get her Master of Arts in Elementary Education degree from University of Phoenix-Honolulu. As an alumnus of the UH Ethnomathematics Program and current HSTE (Hawai‘i Society For Technology in Education) Board Member, Trisha takes pride in being a life-long learner.

Trisha's Finding My Aloha

Kecia McDonald

Kecia is an English Learner Resource Teacher for the West Hawai’i Complex Area. Certified in K-12 Health, she has taught Teen Health and Leadership. She has served as a substitute, a part-time teacher, Title I/Student Support Services Coordinator, and Curriculum/Test Coordinator. She actively learns and contributes to Twitter professional learning communities by curating resources, hosting #808educate chats and collaborating as a guest on podcasts. Her passion for global education, awareness, and empathy was ignited by her time as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Kecia earned her BA in History of Public Policy with a certification in Global Peace and Security Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Kecia's podcast: Making Schools Places of Wellness

Edith Middleton

Education is not only a passion but an absolute way of life for Edith Middleton. It is the value that she attributes to her rescue from her Transylvanian orphanage, at the age of ten and the beacon that has guided every aspect of her life. Edith currently chairs the English Department at King Kekaulike High School and lectures at the University of Hawai’i Maui College. In addition, she teaches tenth grade English, advises the King Kekaulike High School Book Club, and serves as the University of Hawai’i Early College Learning, English 100 liaison. Ms. Middleton is a dual certified English teacher, in both Hawai’i as well as Connecticut, with over ten years of classroom teaching experience. She holds a Masters in the Art of Secondary English Education from Sacred Heart University and a Masters in The Teaching of English from Columbia University. Edith is currently collaborating in The Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program, not only fulfilling her lifelong aspiration of fellowship but also learning about invaluable insight for the next phase of her teaching career both in and outside of the classroom.

Edith's Perspectives and Their Implications

Melissa Montoya

Public Charter Schools
Melissa is currently an Instructional Coach at Kamaile Academy Public Charter School. Prior to coaching, she taught for eight years in math and science to middle school, high school, and university-level haumāna. Over the past decade, Melissa mentored new teachers, was a cooperating teacher to student teachers, and facilitated PLCs and meetings through several roles including Grade Level Chair, Curriculum Lead, and Department Lead. She is an NBCT candidate and also a doctoral candidate through the University of Southern California Rossier Ed.D. program. Prior to a focus on leadership, Melissa received her M.Ed. in STEM Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University-Portland and B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Melissa is passionate about fostering an equitable and effective public education for all our haumāna through the support of our teachers.
Melissa's podcast: Two Epic Teacher Leaders

Zachary Morita

Zachary Morita is a music teacher at Niu Valley Middle School in the Farrington-Kalani-Kaiser complex. He has taught Beginning Band, Exploratory Music, Percussion, and Polynesian Music. Zachary is a recent winner of the 2018 Farmers Insurance Dream Big Teacher Challenge. He has conducted and directed student groups at the 2019 Australian International Music Festival in the Sydney Opera House, the 2017 New York Wind Band Festival in Carnegie Hall, the 2016 National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, and the 2012 Winter Guard International Percussion World Championships. Active in the Hawaii music and education community, Zachary has served as Treasurer for the Oahu Band Directors Association, Associate Music Director for the Honolulu Wind Ensemble, President/Founder of the Hawaii Youth Percussion Ensemble, and Ambassador for the Hawaii Distance Learning Forum.

Zach's article: Want Students Who Think for Themselves? Letʻs Eliminate Our Standardized School System

Kristi Okura

Kristi Okura is a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Honolulu. Her background is in Early Childhood Education with over 10 years of experience working as a military preschool teacher and in the private sector. She is currently a Kindergarten Inclusion teacher at Kipapa Elementary School. Kristi also serves as the Childrenʻs Community Council (CCC) co-chair. When Kristi is not teaching, you can find her with her husband and three children or out in Hauʻula learning to dance hula with her two daughters. Kristi also enjoys finding opportunities for Professional Development to better her teaching practices and skills.

Karleen Lynch

Pearl City-Waipahu
Karleen is a science teacher at Pearl City High School. She has taught biology, AP Biology, and honors biology and is a part of the Technology and Design Academy. Prior to moving to Oahu, she taught eighth-grade physical science in central Virginia. She is currently the advisor for the graduating class of 2022. She also helps supervise the Science Olympiad team events and chaperones the Hiking Club. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a Minor in Secondary Education, as well as a Masters of Arts in Teaching from James Madison University in Virginia. She is passionate about making an impact on equity in science curriculum and creating quality assessments.

Karly's Lessons Learned by Failing in Real-Time

Nick Strope

Nick Strope is currently a math teacher at Kealakehe High School on Hawaii Island and taught his first five years at Waikoloa Elementary/Middle School. His students have spanned grades 5-12 and learned from Nick in subjects such as math, social studies, and AVID. Nick is a Google Certified Trainer, a student support teacher with the Migrant Education Program at Kealakehe High School, and has been trained in DBT Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents (DBT-STEPS-A). Nick’s passion lies in supporting students by using trauma-informed practices in the classroom. He holds a BSBA in Marketing from the University of Missouri and two master's degrees in education. His most recent MSEd was earned from Concordia University-Portland and focused on trauma and resilience in educational settings.
Nick's For the Boys

Cherisse Yamada

Cherisse Yamada inspires kids to love learning and discover their passions. Cherisse has taught third through fifth graders including English Learners in Honolulu. She now serves as Kāneʻohe Elementary School’s Academic Coach. A 2017 alumnus of Na Kumu Alaka’i Teacher Leadership Academy, Cherisse fosters students’ leadership skills as a Student Council Advisor while deepening her own abilities as a School Leadership Team member. She cultivates place-based professional development through The Estria Foundation’s Mele Murals. Cherisse earned a B.S. in Family Resources and M.Ed. in Teaching from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa.

Cherisse's The Lonely Swinging Rope Bridge

2020-2022 Hawaii State Teacher Fellows