Posted on May 19, 2005
Dear Parents of Mid-Pacific Institute,
What a wonderful way to begin today! The entire school � students, faculty, and staff � gathered for the May assembly and Teacher/Staff Appreciation Day. Several students read poems that they had written about a particular teacher or staff member, and the audience tried to guess who the poem was about. We received beautiful leis and gifts. The faculty, staff, and I are honored to work with your children, and we deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness.
At the assembly, the Choir and Ukulele Band treated us to a preview of their evening concert tomorrow night, Friday, at 6:00 p.m., in the church. They not only looked absolutely dashing in their white aloha wear and green ribbon leis, but also sounded stunning in their musical performance. Don�t miss this event!
As we prepare to end the school year, I want to inform you about staffing for academic year 2005-2006. The preschool will have two classes, each with sixteen three- and four-year olds. Gretchen Leitel will teach one class; her teaching assistant will be Leigh Oshiro, a Chaminade student teacher specializing in early childhood education. The other preschool teacher, Kazari Kikuchi-Getz, comes from a Reggio Emilia-inspired school in Washington, D.C., and her assistant will be Leolani Hampton, who just received her degree in early childhood education. Katie Mitchell continues in one Kindergarten class, assisted by Noelani Goldstein. The other Kinder teacher is Cindy Hoddick, a former head of school and reading specialist. She will be assisted by Sarah Fields, who is currently working in a Stanford University preschool. The preschool and kindergarten will have their own art specialist or aterlierista. I am in the process of hiring right now.
Our four multiage first-second grades will be taught by Chris Bailie, Jon Kissida, Michele LeBlanc, and Shirley Auerbach. Shirley is teaching for one year until Michele Aucello returns to her multiage 1-2 class in 2006-2007. Our four multiage third-fourth grade teachers are Gail Fukumoto, Tiffany Byrne, Leah Rafanan (we�re thrilled to have her as a full-time teacher; she has just completed her M. Ed.), and Tracey Andersen (who�ll take Cindy Macfarlane-Flores�s place while Cindy takes the year off to give birth and be with her newborn). Jen Matsumoto and Bruce Black will each have a fifth grade class.
Our specialists will continue � Diane Koshi, music; Pam Jenkins, P.E.; and Jill Brooks, Art for grades 1-5). Shirley Rivera will teach character/Christian education to grades 3-5 so that she can offer more counseling to our students, preschool through fifth grade. I am also in the process of hiring a teacher who will assume character/Christian education for preschool through grade two.
We�re so fortunate to have Margery Jacobson as office manager and Sally Schultz as office assistant and lunchroom supervisor. Talented Scott Yoshinaga will also continue as the elementary school technology coordinator. Anna Harstad will continue in the afterschool program.
We will bid a fond aloha to three special staff members. Mr. Van and his wife, Mrs. Tran, will be retiring at the end of the year and will leave June 30 for San Jose to live with their son and be near other family members. Mr. Van (maintenance) has worked with us for 27 years, and Mrs. Tran for five years in the afterschool program. Dr. Walter Fo, our psychologist-consultant, will focus more on his private practice, but in the meantime, we�ll be looking for a consultant who�ll continue working with the teachers, parents, and students. All three persons have been long-time friends and supporters of Epiphany/MPI, and we will miss them very much.
Some of you have asked about former art teacher Ben Pfister. Ben starts his second year in his masters� art program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has expressed interest in teaching older students, and we want to support him in his professional career. I�m sure he�ll continue to visit us and maybe drop in as a �guest� teacher next year.
Construction Update: Thank you to families who took the �Hard Hat� tours of the new elementary school construction site. Walking the site gives you an incredible sense of space and the relationship of buildings to one another. The construction crew will continue to pour concrete for sidewalks, finish up electrical work, and begin painting. The construction completion date is still July 15.
In next week�s letter, I�ll write more about the Kaimuki-to-Manoa moving process. I hope you enjoyed this morning�s Honolulu Advertiser feature on our school. I think writer Bev Creamer and photographer Richard Ambo highlighted the most positive aspects of our move to Manoa.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey
p.s. My oldest son, Ikaika, gets married this Saturday! I won�t be in Friday and Monday due to pre- and post- wedding excitement. Can�t believe I�ve come to this milestone!