The Hawaii State Teacher Fellows Program launched in 2014 with outstanding educators from across the state’s islands. Teacher Fellows have been featured in media across the state; provided feedback from thousands of their peers to the state’s Department of Education on critical education policies, including the implementation of Hawaii’s Common Core Standards; hosted local and state policymakers in their classrooms; and have shared their solutions and expertise at education convenings across the state and country.

Connect With a Teacher Closest To You

Hawaii State Teacher Fellows

Whitney Aragaki
High School Science and Math Teacher

Whitney is a high school science and math teacher at Waiakea High School on Hawai’i Island and is a teacher for the Hawai’i Virtual Learning Network. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescence and Young Adulthood Mathematics, serves on the Hawai’i State Math Leadership Academy and STEM Work Group, and is a part of the Hawai’i District Science and Engineering Fair Steering Committee. A former Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Aspiring Teachers of Color and National Science Foundation GK-12 Graduate Fellow, she was born and raised on Hawai’i Island. Whitney has a BA in Biology from Swarthmore College, and an MS in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.

Lorna Baniaga-Lee
High School English Language Arts Teacher

Lorna is a freshmen English teacher at James Campbell High School (JCHS) for over 20 years and was the first teacher at JCHS to receive National Board Certification. In addition to her role as a full-time classroom teacher, she is the Lead Mentor for the Induction and Mentoring (I&M) program. She oversees the I&M program to ensure all beginning teachers are supported by a trained mentor. She is inspired by her students’ and beginning teachers’ successes. She was recognized as a JCHS Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She received her B.Ed in Secondary English Education and M.Ed in Educational Foundation from UH-Manoa.

Karen Corbell
Inclusion/General Ed Teacher

Karen is a fourth grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary in the KKP Complex Area. Karen was recently named one of Hawaii’s 2016/2017 PBS Digital Innovators and is a Teach Strong Advocate. She is a pillar teacher in the area of technology integration. Karen runs a CS/Minecraft EDU Club and has presented at the 2015 & 2016 HITechEd Conferences. She also created and moderates her school’s twitter account. Karen was selected to be GLC heading her grade level next year. She has 5 children and enjoys 5 grandsons with her husband of 26 years. She received her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Alaska.

Elizabeth DeLyon
Third Grade Teacher

Elizabeth is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Childhood Education, 2003. She re-certified in 2013. Elizabeth received her BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of Massachusetts and Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Elizabeth currently works as a third grade teacher at Haiku Elementary School on the island of Maui. Her 28 years of experience range from preschool through graduate school, with the majority in third grade. She regularly trains student teachers to share her practices and passion.

Caroline Freudig
Resource Teacher

Caroline is the Kaua’i Complex Area Teacher Induction Program Coordinator and has worked as a Kaua’i Complex Area Resource Teacher since the 2012-2013 school year. Caroline completed the New Teacher Center Mentor Training Presenters’ Academy, facilitates mentor training for mentors on Kaua’i and has completed the Na Kumu Alaka’i Teacher Leader Academy. She was part of the Hawai’i two-year cohort for the NEA/CTQ Teacher Leadership Initiative. A member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society of educators, Caroline is HSTA Kaua’i Chapter Treasurer. She received her BA in Early Childhood Education and MA in Elementary Education from Queens College, New York.

Shawna Gunnarson
6th-8th Grade Teacher

Shawna teaches AVID and computer elective at Konawaena Middle School in the Konawaena/Kealakehe complex area.  During her 13 years at KMS, she has expanded her role to include new teacher mentorship, serving on the Instructional Leadership Team, coaching student representatives on the Hokupa’a Youth Council, and facilitating a student “Critter Care” club in partnership with Hawai’i Island Humane Society. A “terminal student,” Shawna continues to learn through opportunities such as Na Kumu Alaka’i, and conferences such as those sponsored by HAMS, AMLE and AVID. Shawna earned her BS from UC Riverside, and her master’s degree from the UH Manoa.

Debbie Heyler
WASC Coordinator / Data Coach

Debbie has been part of the Olomana School community in the Winward District for 19 years serving as social studies teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, Title I Coordinator and WASC Coordinator. Working at an alternative school that includes Hawaii’s incarcerated youths, she passionately feels that every child deserves a quality education. She has been a member of nine WASC visiting teams, completed the Nakumu Alaka’i Teacher Leader Academy, and taught English in Japan with the JET program. Debbie enjoys church and the outdoors with her husband and three children. She earned her BA from the University of California Santa Cruz and her MEd from the University of Hawaii’s MET program.

Michael Kline
Special Education Preschool and Kindergarten Teacher

Michael Kline currently teaches Special Education preschool and kindergarten at Kilauea Elementary School. He has been a Special Education teacher for 15 years on Kaua’i. Michael achieved National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist in Early Childhood through Young Adulthood in 2003 and recertified in 2013. He earned an undergraduate degree in Education from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Illinois and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum Studies from the University of Hawai’i. He has served as Secretary for the Hawai’i State Teachers Association Kaua’i Chapter for 9 years and is currently Secretary and Vice-President.

Emilio Macalalad
Science Teacher

Emilio teaches 10th grade Biology, 11th & 12th grade Environmental Science and Human Physiology, and next year will be teaching AP Biology. The 2015-16 school year was his first year teaching on Moloka’i after teaching in New York City for 12 years. A member of the Science Work Group through the Hawaii’s Department of Education Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Support, Emilio also participated in University of Hawaii, Manoa Our Project in Hawaii’s Intertidal (OPIHI) Study. He received his BS in Animal Physiology/Neuroscience from University of California, San Diego, and Master’s of Education in Secondary Science Education from University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Debra Masden
Kaiulani Elementary School ELL Coordinator

Debra is an ELL Coordinator at Kaiulani Elementary School in the Kaimuki-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex in Honolulu. Debra has been at Kaiulani Elementary for 6 years teaching 1st and 4th grade. She has served four years on the schools Academic Review Team and has been the Induction and Mentoring lead. This is her third year of being a school level mentor for beginning teachers. Debra received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas at San Antonio, her M.Ed. in Educational Technology from the University of Maryland University College and teaching certificate from San Antonio College.

Erin Medeiros
High School English Language Arts Teacher

Erin has spent the past 10 years working with students at Kauai High School. She currently teaches 12th grade AP English Literature & Composition but continues to learn from her previous roles coordinating the AVID, AP, and Senior Project programs. She has participated in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Program and the Hawaii English Language Arts Content Panel and is currently pursuing National Board Certification. Erin earned a BA in History from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR and a Master of Education in Middle/Secondary ELA and Social Studies from the University of Oregon.

Danielle Mizuta
Autism Consulting Teacher/Special Education Resource Teacher

An Autism Consulting Teacher with the Windward District, Danielle co-teaches in an Intensive Training Center where she coaches and mentors teacher candidates and special education teachers. She is a Mentor trainer with the New Teacher Center, and a 2014 Team Excellence Award Merit Finalist with her State Induction Team. Danielle was awarded the Locations Foundation Teacher Award and is working towards her Special Olympics coaching swimming certification. She received her BS in Communication Studies and a Minor in Dance from California Polytechnic University Pomona, and her MEd in Educational Foundations and MEd in Special Education from the University of Hawai’i.

John Mulroy
Resource Teacher

John Mulroy has dedicated eight years to teaching in a multitude of special education environments including resource, self-contained and co-teaching classrooms. John is a resource teacher and mentor for newly hired Special Education Teachers within the Kaimuki-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex as well as a trainer with the New Teacher Center. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Special Education from La Salle University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Julie Reyes Oda
High School Mathematics Teacher

Julie is a high school math teacher at Nānākuli High and Intermediate School in the Nānākuli-Wai‘anae Complex. She, a math teacher for nine years at the secondary and post-secondary levels, is a candidate for National Board Certification as a Mathematics Specialist in Adolescence and Young Adulthood. She graduated from Hawai‘i Pacific University with degrees in Justice Administration (BA), Business (MBA), and Organizational Change (MA) and from Western Governors University in Teaching Secondary Mathematics (MA). She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California completing an alignment study between high school math standards and college math curriculum.

Aurene Padilla
Induction and Mentoring Resource Teacher

Aurene Padilla is a twenty year veteran with the Hawaii Department of Education. She has taught at the state’s two multi track elementary schools, teaching 3rd and 5th grade at Holomua and serving as the curriculum coordinator at Kapolei. Aurene is currently a resource teacher in Central District, serving as the Induction and Mentoring Coordinator mentoring beginning teachers, coaching mentors, and providing professional development courses. Aurene is active in the National Teacher Induction Network. Aurene is a graduate of Willamette University with a BA in Spanish and the University of Hawaii with a Professional Diploma in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education.

Esther Park
5th Grade Teacher

Esther is a fifth grade teacher at the Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area on Schofield Barracks. She works with military dependent students at Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School (formerly known as Hale Kula). Esther serves as Grade Level Chair and focuses on math and social studies instruction. She is a Teach For America alum and has worked on staff at the Phoenix National Institute as a Corps Member Advisor. She is also the recipient of the 2016 Locations Foundation Top Teacher Award. Esther graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Foreign Affairs and received her MS in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Lory Peroff
3rd Grade Teacher

Lory is a third grade teacher at Waikiki Elementary in the Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani Complex in Honolulu. Her teaching career began in the Peace Corps where she promoted women’s rights by co-founding GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camps in Uzbekistan and Tonga. Lory has taught in Ghana, Taiwan, and Hawaii. Lory, a National Milken Educator “Teacher of Promise” award nominee, earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Colorado and her Master’s of Education from the University of Hawaii. Lory enjoys engaging in project-based learning with the mindful students at Waikiki Elementary.

Elizabeth Timbal
ELA, AVID, College Preparatory High School Teacher

Elizabeth Timbal is the Lead AVID teacher at Kea’au High School, Freshmen Class Advisor; New Teacher Mentor Coordinator, Freshmen Academy Curriculum Develop/Teacher; and was the 2014 Hawai’i District Teacher of the Year. She has been with the Kea’au/Pahoa/Ka’u Complex for 12 years. Beth served as a member of the Teacher Leader Workgroup and presented at the Leadership 2014 Symposium. Beth received her BA in Political Science and Journalism, and MA from Central Michigan University in Instruction.

Christina Torres
7th and 9th Grade English and Drama Teacher

Christina Torres teaches English and Drama at University Laboratory School. After graduating from the University of Southern California with degrees in English and Theatre, Christina joined Teach For America. She earned her Masters in Education focused on Digital Learning at Loyola Marymount University. While teaching, she and her students ran the LA marathon through the SRLA program. After two years, Christina came to Hawai‘i to work on TFA-Hawai‘i staff. She worked in operations, then as a TFA national social media manager before returning to teach. Christina is part of Hawai‘i’s Teacher Leadership Initiative, TFA’s Education4Justice cohort, and the EduColor collective.

Anne Weber
3rd Grade Teacher

Anne is a third grade teacher and Grade Level Chair at Ma’ili Elementary on the Leeward Coast. A TFA alumna, she holds memberships on the advisory council for the Native Alliance Initiative, the National Indian Education Association, the Academic Review Team, is a chapter delegate for the NEA Representative Assembly and serves as a school level leader for HSTA. She was nominated in 2015 for the TFA Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award and completed an action research project to measure the impact on student learning of collaborative technology in her classroom. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2010 with a dual degree in Economics and Philosophy.

Mathieu Williams
Middle School Technology and Media Teacher

Mathieu currently teaches middle school technology and media classes at Kealakehe Intermediate in Kona. Previously he was a special education teacher and served on his school’s Instructional Leadership Team. This will be Mathieu’s fifth year of teaching and has been tasked this upcoming school year to build a stronger K-12 construct through technology and develop a school wide social and emotional curriculum to strengthen student mindsets. He began his teaching career through Teach for America in Hawai’i. Mathieu completed his undergraduate studies in Business at Walla Walla University and recently earned his Masters in Educational Leadership from Chaminade University.

See Previous Years' Fellows

Once a fellow, always a fellow.


Teacher Fellows and their writings have been featured in media across the state, including the Honolulu Civil Beat and the Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest paper, covering topics such as:  teacher leadership, addressing the needs of special education students, and elevating teacher voice. Teacher Fellows have met with local and state policymakers, hosted them in their classrooms, and have been given the opportunity to attend education convenings across the state and country.

Learn More & Engage

Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter using #hsgedchat and #hsghi.

To connect directly with our Hawaii Fellows, please contact Kelly Miyamura, Hawaii State Teacher Fellows Program Director: kelly@hopestreetgroup.org.

If you are a Hawaii teacher and wish to become a part of Hope Street Group’s Peer Learning Network, let us know via the button below:

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At Hope Street Group, even the publications are collaborative. Our reports aim to engage the country in meaningful conversations about reform and offer a combination of research, interviews, and expert insights from our network. They feature a unique combination of contributors, including practitioners and policymakers from a wide variety of industries and political beliefs, and are expertly honed by Hope Street Group staff and volunteers.


An Evaluation of the Hawaii State Teacher Fellows Program, Year One

Teacher Voice in Action

Community Involvement Enriches Our Public Schools

Justin Brown for Civil Beat

Two Kinds: Teachers Focused on Compliance vs. Relationships

Christina Torres for Education Week

School Leadership Is Recognizing We Have Had The Power All Along

Christopher Rodriguez for Civil Beat

Why Preschool is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Jonathan Gillentine for The Ed Advocate 

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