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HIDOE News Release: HIDOE names 2018 Employee and Team of the Year

Posted on Sep 17, 2018 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) named its 2018 Employee and Team of the Year award winners, recognizing employees for their outstanding and continued contributions to education and the students of Hawaii.

“The success of our students is founded on the hard work and dedication of our employees and we want to take every opportunity to spotlight the great work that’s happening at our schools,” said Dr. Christina Kishimoto, HIDOE Superintendent. “From daily operations like school lunch preparation to our professional development trainings and multi-year plans, the work of our employees guide the progress of education in Hawaii and these awards recognize only a small fraction of our collective efforts.”

Francine Flores, Custodian at Maui’s King Kamehameha III Elementary School, was named HIDOE’s 2018 Employee of the Year. For the past 32 years, Francine has worked tirelessly to keep the grounds of King Kamehameha III Elementary School beautiful, safe and meticulously groomed. Her ability to anticipate issues, combined with her self-starting nature, has produced solutions to potential problems before they develop. These traits have made her a consistent favorite among students, parents and staff. Her hard work and dedication have played a major role in making the King Kamehameha III Elementary campus stand out as an example for all schools.

The Windward District Academic Integration Team was named HIDOE’s 2018 Team of the Year. Over the last two school years, the Academic Integration Team facilitated several large Makerspace workshops to foster dynamic learning environments where students can innovate and engage in critical thinking lessons. Over a hundred teachers across the Windward District participated in these popular workshops. To help them bring this work back to their own classrooms, the team provided engineering and design-thinking posters, lesson ideas, and grant funding, so that each school was empowered to select and purchase supplies related to the activities that resonated with them. To reach a broader audience with their work, the team created a website,, which allows teachers to request items from a lending library and access videos of professional development highlights. The team also increased its social media presence with an Instagram account to document and share progress and to build awareness.

The team is comprised of six members: Jamie Kagami, Ryan Kagami, Trisha Kim, Melissa Mano, Janel Marr and Ryan Saito.

Flores and the Windward District Academic Integration Team will represent HIDOE in the upcoming annual Governor’s Awards ceremony for Distinguished State Service among distinguished awardees from other state departments.

Today’s event also recognized the outstanding efforts of the following HIDOE employees and teams:

Sustained Superior Performance Award

•    Justin Carmichael, School Administrative Services Assistant, Ewa Makai Middle School

Team Excellence Award of Merit

•    Kaimuki-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex Resource Teacher Team
Liane Auyong-Imamura, Kristen Brummel, Jancie Dela Cruz, Jo Ann Eckert, Cindee Izuo, Cheryl Koito-Casison, Pamela Kohara, Lorriann Kondo, Joyce Luka, John Mulroy, Holly Polk, Cheryl Sato, Jamie Shioji, Hope Suzuki, Cam Tu Thi Trinh, Namie Wong

•    Kapunahala Elem. Student Support Team
Alison Adams, Ayada Bonilla, Laurie Fujikawa, Reid Hasegawa, Ramona Kahawaii, Joli Kenney, Iris Kimura, Robyn McIntosh, Konnie McKeague, Cynthia Tamashiro

•    Kula Elementary Cafeteria Staff
Kelsey Kahaleauki-Nobriga, Laura McLean, Lynne Yonamine

•    Training & Development Section, Office of Talent Management
Michelle Lawson, James Lynch-Urbaniak, Kevin Okazaki, Joy Okimoto, Brian Sims, Soo Boo Tan, Shelly Ueda


About the Hawaii State Department of Education
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the 10th largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 256 schools and 36 charter schools, and serves about 180,000 students. King Kamehameha III established Hawaii’s public school system in 1840. To learn more, visit

Derek Inoshita
Communications Specialist
Hawaii State Department of Education
Ph: (808) 586-3232
Email: [email protected]