The Hawai`i State Teacher Fellows Program launched in 2014 with outstanding educators from across the state’s islands. Since then the program has engaged over 60 teachers in public education to train and equip them with leadership skills based on a competency framework. Teacher Fellows expand their professional learning network in order to collaborate and mobilize their peers to positively impact students and their communities. Teacher Fellows are empowered to leverage their professional experience and voice their expertise along with feedback from other teachers on key education issues.Teacher Fellows take on leadership roles with a solutions-oriented approach and work to elevate the profession and dialogue about public education.

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.

5th Grade Teacher

Eileen is a teacher in the Kaimuki-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex in Honolulu. Prior to teaching in Mānoa, she taught in New York City public schools for 12 years and an additional four years in Waldorf, French immersion and EFL programs in Martinique, Taiwan and Lebanon. She embraces leadership roles that enhance her school communities, particularly those that highlight social justice, curriculum development and new teacher training. She seeks to promote learning environments that emphasize direct experience, creativity, inquiry and debate. She earned a BA in Urban Studies and French Studies from Fordham University and a Masters of Science in Education from City College.

Instructional Coach

Cecilia is currently an instructional coach at Kaimiloa Elementary School in Ewa Beach, Campbell/Kapolei Complex. She has taught and learned alongside her third and fourth graders for the past three years and continues to work with students, as well as teachers, in her new role as instructional coach. Outside of school, Cecilia works with teachers by leading workshops at various conferences and school events. Cecilia graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with BAs in International Relations and Public Relations and received her MS in Educational Studies from the Johns Hopkins University.

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.

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.

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.

Secondary English Teacher

Piikea is a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher in the Nānākuli-Wai‘anae Complex.
She is a Kamehameha Schools Kapālama graduate from Waimānalo, Hawai’i, Piikea received her BA in English from Hawai‘i Pacific University and her MSEd from Johns Hopkins University. Piikea has taught eighth grade inclusion English Language Arts and currently teaches seventh grade AVID English Language Arts at Wai‘anae Intermediate School. During the summer, Piikea teaches P3 scholars through the PUEO program at Punahou School. She has previously served on the Makiki Neighborhood Board. Piikea’s work in education is fueled by her #WaianaeStrong students, her devoted family and her quest for educational equity in Hawai’i. Piikea is a Teach for America-Hawai’i alumna.

Special Education Teacher

Clinton is a Special Education Teacher at Kaunakakai Elementary School on the island of Molokai with his wife and two children. He has 14 years of teaching experience and has taught a variety of grade levels from preschool to high school, both general and special education. He currently serves on the WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support), as a team leader. He leads professional development on the topic of Mindful learning strategies in the classroom. Clinton received his bachelor in liberal arts at California State University Fullerton and his Masters and teaching degree at Chaminade University of Oahu. Clinton is very passionate about social/emotional learning and believes that It should be emphasized in schools. He currently implements Mindful Awareness strategies with his students as a way to nurture a rigorous learning environment. Clinton loves to travel the world and enjoy water activities such as surfing, paddling and fishing.

Debra Masden
6th Grade Teacher

Debra is a 6th grade teacher at Ben Parker Elementary school on the Windward side of Oahu. This is her 11 year in teaching with a range of experiences from 1st, 4th, 5th and an ELL Coordinator. She has held many different school level roles including Academic Review Team member, WASC Focus Group Lead and also was the Induction and Mentoring lead. She has been a school level mentor for four years. Debra received her B.A in Political Science from the University of Texas San Antonio, her M.Ed in Educational Technology from the University of Maryland University College and teaching certificate from San Antonio College. She is currently a NBCT candidate.

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.

Special Education Teacher

Erin Mendelson has dedicated eleven years to honing her craft as a special education teacher in elementary and middle schools across Oahu. After graduating from Columbia University in New York City with a major in Eastern Religions, Erin discovered her love for teaching while working one-to-one in a classroom setting with students with autism. She earned a Masters of Arts in Communications and Leadership at Gonzaga University and is a candidate for National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist in Early Childhood through Adulthood. Erin serves as a mentor teacher with the James Madison Legacy Project that increases the availability and effectiveness of civic instruction in schools.

Elementary School Teacher

Stephanie is a third grade teacher at Kapunahala Elementary School in Kaneohe. She has been a public school teacher for the past 16 years. Stephanie has received her Masters in Elementary Education with a Montesorri Emphasis from Chaminade University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Hawaii. She spent two years at the Sathya Sai School in Thailand studying the Education in Human Values program and teaching conversational English. She is the 2016 Hawaii State Teacher of the Year. Her passion is teaching children how to develop good character and positive mindsets for learning and life.

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.

4th Grade Teacher

Kristilyn earned National Board Certification in 2003 and currently mentors candidates by teaching online and summer support courses. Recently, she co-chaired to organize the first statewide Education Policy Summit. Additionally, Kristilyn has taught/directed English summer camps abroad and organized a Hawaii homestay for international students. She was awarded a spot at STEM focused Mickelson Exxon-Mobil Teaching Academy and engaged in helping launch the K-12 PLTW engineering program in the Campbell-Kapolei complex. She also serves as a State Network Educator, SBA ambassador and on several state assessment item review committees. Kristilyn holds a Professional Diploma in Elementary Education and BA in Psychology from UH Manoa. Along with a year as the multi-track librarian, she has been enjoying educating fourth graders for the past two decades at Holomua Elementary.

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.

3rd Grade Teacher

Rachel is a third grade teacher at Aiea Elementary school in the Aiea-Moanalua-Radford Complex Area. In her seventh year teaching, Rachel has taught kindergarten, second, and third. She currently serves on the Hawaii Social Studies Revision Writing Team working to rewrite the state’s social studies standards. Rachel received her BA in Elementary Education at Elon University in North Carolina and is currently working to complete her M.ED in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Texas Arlington. While teaching is Rachel’s passion, next school year she will be leaving the classroom to serve as the RTI coach at her school. Her job will entail working to support teachers and students on their road to success.

Content Curriculum Coach, Grades 3-6

Dana is a content curriculum coach at Waipahu Elementary School in the Waipahu-Pearl City Complex. She has been teaching for twelve years in Hawaii’s DOE and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy. Dana is the state coordinator of Ka Hui Heluhelu, a nonprofit state council board under the International Literacy Association. She has been a past president and a board member since 2011. She has her masters in Curriculum Studies with a focus in reading K-12 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and recently received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education.

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.

Preschool & 3rd Grade Teacher

Yvonne moved to the island of Lanai 11 years ago from Chicago and currently teaches the preschool class, a program she started on the island three years ago. The rest of her teaching experience on Lanai has been in the third grade, which she will be teaching again for the 2017-18 school year with her only son in her classroom. During her 15 total years in teaching she has also taught middle school, first grade and fifth grade. Yvonne currently holds other positions on her campus including on the WASC Accreditation Team, Instructional Leadership Team, as Professional Learning Committee Facilitator and mentor teacher in the Induction and Mentoring Program. She has previously chaired the School Community Council, sat on the Leadership Team, the school’s RTI (Response to Intervention) Team, was facilitated Data Team lead, Board President for KOL community preschool and Board Member for Lanai Animal Rescue. She is interested in using data-driven instruction as means to inform her teaching.

See Previous Years' Fellows

Once a fellow, always a fellow.


Hawai`i State Teacher Fellows have worked to build strong relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders including the HIDOE, BOE, and HSTA. Teacher Fellows have regularly engaged in advisory conversations with the Superintendent/Deputy Superintendent and state legislators. Data collection through focus groups and surveys have provided valuable and relevant teacher insights and perspectives for policymakers on critical education policies including the implementation of Hawaii’s Common Core Standards, NGSS, and Career Readiness. The writings of Teacher Fellows have been published in the media at both the state and national level including Honolulu Civil Beat, Star-Advertiser, and Ed Week. Teacher Fellows have planned and hosted two statewide ECET2 (Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching) conferences. The convenings are now being scaled into Complex Areas to celebrate and build teacher leadership. Last spring, a local fellowship program for the Kauai Complex Area was launched and are being led by State Teacher Fellow alumni.

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:

I Want to Get Involved


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

Hawai`i Fall 2016 Data Collection on Career Readiness


Teacher Voice in Action

Creating A Safer World, One Question At A Time

Lory Peroff for Civil Beat 

Pay Teachers The Bonus They Deserve To Solve Teacher Shortage

Erin Medeiros for Civil Beat

Knowledge Discovered > Knowledge Received

Esther Park for Medium

Roots: Why We Must Support Non-English Speakers

Jonathon Medeiros for Education Week

Hawaii Teacher Voice Blog

Stay In Touch! Sign Up For Our Newsletter