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Summer 2011

Acts of Compassion
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Summer 2011 - Department | Faculty & Staff File

Faculty and Staff File

Beloved, Longtime Teachers Retire

They may be retired from teaching, but their many contributions at ‘Iolani will continue. Several longtime educators were recognized by Headmaster Dr. Val Iwashita at the end-of-year faculty meeting on May 2 in St. Alban’s Chapel. Dr. Iwashita spoke about their dedication and commitment to ‘Iolani and their willingness to go above and beyond their call to duty.

Retiring at the end of the past school year were:

  • Security guard Paul Lucero after 13 years at ‘Iolani
  • Math teacher Don Woods after 21 years at ‘Iolani
  • Biology teacher Susan Nishiura after 26 years at ‘Iolani
  • Employee Benefits Manager Sherry Uyehara after 29 years at ‘Iolani
  • Second grade teacher Joyce Ueda after 32 years at ‘Iolani
  • Lower School science teacher Ellen Gaylor after 40 years at ‘Iolani

Paul Lucero, center, is congratulated by security guard Johanna Mohika, left, and security supervisor Lidia Baier, right.

Math teacher Don Woods, left, is recognized on his retirement by math department head Joe Guillou.

Science department head Fred Heyler congratulates biology teacher Susan Nishiura, right.

Sherry Uyehara, right, received a warm mahalo from Director of Finance Glenn Ching.

Joyce Ueda, left, was congratulated by Dean of Lower School Gerald Teramae.


After 40 years of service to ‘Iolani School, Lower School science teacher Ellen Gaylor retired in June. She was recognized by Gerald Teramae for her retirement and also a received a gift from Dr. Val Iwashita for reaching the four decade milestone.

Achievements & Congratulations

Thanks to Advanced Placement biology teacher Teresa Shimamoto, ‘Iolani’s Ala Wai Watershed Project received 2011 $10,000 Toyata Tapestry Grant. The Toyata Tapestry program offers grants to kindergarten to twelfth grade teachers for innovative science projects that enhance environmental science education in their school and community over a one-year period.

The Ala Wai Canal is a 1.5 mile artificial estuary inland of Waikiki Beach. It was built in the 1920s to drain the coastal wetlands of fishponds, taro patches and rice fields as well as eradicate mosquito infestation. Now streams from Nu‘uanu, Palolo and Mānoa valleys are diverted into the canal, once flowing through agricultural and aquacultural lands which have become commercial and residential neighborhoods.

The Ala Wai Watershed Project is a partnership between ‘Iolani and the University of Hawai‘i Center for Conservation Research and Training (CCRT). The project’s objectives are to provide ‘Iolani Advanced Placement biology students with opportunities to perform scientific research while gaining a deep sense of appreciation and stewardship for the environment; to mentor students and foster an interest in science, and to develop an Internet-based portal in which Ala Wai Watershed schools can share data over the years.

Through collaborative research, the project will identify historical trends from mountain-to-sea, draw data based conclusions and inspire future generations of scientists. Students from other nearby schools, such as Hokulani Elementary, are also involved in collecting data.

Personal Kudos

Warm aloha to history teacher Mel Pfingsten and her husband, Tim, on the birth of their daughter Moanimailelauli‘i Anna who was born on January 25.

Seventh grade teacher Kimi Yasunaga Frith ’92 and husband Greg welcomed their third child, Lexie Mieko, on March 25.

Science teacher Jennifer Chen ’01 and husband Eric celebrated the birth of their first child, James Philip, on April 20. 

Warehouse foreman Evan Roberts ’97 and wife Keala welcomed daughter Taylor into the world on April 25.