Since 2006, Teach For America has worked alongside our partners in Hawai‘i to create opportunities for kids in our most underserved communities.
In Hawai‘i, we are deeply committed to the possibility that all students have access to an excellent education that prepares them to become authentic leaders of our local and global communities. Our regional core values of kuleana (responsibility), ‘ohana (family), and aloha (love), and our 10-year Strategic Direction guide our work.
We do not work alone in this effort, but as part of a broader community of families, community organizations, educators, and other leaders who are committed to helping our students become learners and leaders. We work together to empower students to contribute to their local and global communities, while honoring and being grounded in the history, values, and cultural diversity that make our islands unique.
Today, with more than 450 people directly associated with Teach For America in our Hawai‘i community (corps members, alumni, staff, and board), we have tremendous potential as a community of people who share a set of values and a commitment to the movement for educational equity.
Teach For America teachers (2017-18)
Mid-level school leaders (2017-18)
“TFA to me means family. I am from Hawai‘i, born and raised and I know in Hawai‘i family is a big thing. When I think of TFA Hawai‘i, I think of family because of the ‘ohana that has been created through the program.”
Regional Staff & Board Leadership
Meilan Akaka Manfre, Director, School & System Leadership
Meilan works to support and develop our teachers interested in school and system leadership. Meilan received her bachelor of arts in music from Wellesley College and M.Ed. in special education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. As a 2008 Hawai‘i corps member, she taught ninth and 10th grade inclusion math at James Campbell High School and served as the special education department head before joining staff in 2013. As part of the Native Alliance Initiative Advisory Council, Meilan has travelled to facilitate sessions in Washington, D.C., South Dakota, and New Mexico. She also served as a teacher and administrator for the PUEO program at Punahou School. Meilan is on the board of directors for the Rev. Akaka Ministries Foundation and Dreamhouse, Inc.
Erin Auerbach, Manager, Individual Giving and Data
Erin manages our individual giving and development events. Prior to joining Teach for America in 2016, Erin worked at Youth INC, a venture philanthropy in New York City, where she helped build the sustainability of youth-serving nonprofits by teaming with leadership and boards to strengthen their fundraising capabilities and by giving cash grants that would grow their infrastructure. She holds a bachelor of music in voice performance from Boston University's School of Fine Arts, and a M.B.A. from New York University's Stern School of Business. After many years on the East Coast, Erin is thrilled to be home in Hawai‘i working with our island community.
Lindsey Bailey, Manager, Values, Diversity & Culture
Lindsey designs our regional diversity programming and facilitates professional development for teachers in the area of values, diversity, and culture. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in psychology and earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from Chaminade University. She was a 2012 Hawai‘i corps member and worked as a teacher at Makakilo Elementary for three years. Lindsey has been an active member of numerous TFA diversity initiatives, including participating and facilitating sessions with our Native Alliance Initiative and Hawai‘i’s Culturally Responsive Teaching Program and serving on our Kama‘āina Diversity Recruitment Team.
Jazzmin Cabanella, Manager, External Affairs & Program Support
Jazzmin works to sustain the work of Teach For America on Hawai‘i Island through building community connections, fundraising, and supporting our programmatic work. She was a 2014 Hawai‘i Island corps member and taught sixth grade at Keonepoko Elementary for three years in Pāhoa. Jazzmin was born and raised in Hawai‘i on both O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island. She attended Hawai‘i Community College and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo graduating with an associate of arts degree in liberal arts and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Jazzmin is a mother of three children, a surfer, and a lifelong educator and learner, as well as an advocate for aloha ‘āina.
Alyson Emrick, Director, Pre-Service & Alternative Route to Certification
Aly manages our alternate route to credential program and oversees onboarding and hiring of new teachers. Aly was a 2006 Greater Philadelphia corps member and taught sixth and third graders in Southwest Philadelphia. In 2008, she joined staff here in Hawai‘i and has worked in a variety of capacities including coaching teachers and partnering with schools and communities. Prior to joining Teach For America, she spent 16 years attending international schools in Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. She then earned her bachelor of arts from the University of Richmond in leadership studies and her master of science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Onawa Haynes, Manager, Grants & Contracts
Onawa manages our corporate, foundation, and public grants and contracts work, including our partnership with Americorps. She is a member of the Navajo Nation; originally from Gamerco, New Mexico. She holds bachelors’ degrees in English and Native American studies as well as a J.D. from the University of New Mexico. She has also studied ‘olelo Hawai‘i and modern Native Hawaiian law at the University of Hawai‘i. She joined Teach For America Hawai‘i in 2016. Prior to joining staff, Onawa worked as an assistant trial attorney, Native American court administrator, and grant writer.
Josh Heimowitz, Managing Director, External Affairs
Josh oversees our external affairs work; including communications; community partnerships; and building a sustainable, diversified, and local funding base in Hawai‘i. He manages four staff members focused on our external affairs work across islands and helps to support the Hawai‘i Regional Board of Advisors. Josh spent the last 20 years working to improve communities through his volunteer work with many organizations and his work at the YMCA and The Redwoods Group. Josh moved to Hawai‘i in 2001, where he was the executive director for YMCA Camp Erdman until 2011. After a brief stint in North Carolina, Josh and his family are happy to be home in Hawai‘i.
Joshua Lee, Manager, External Affairs & Executive Director Support
Joshua manages communications, media, and public relations for the Hawai‘i region and provides support to our executive director. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in business administration and a M.B.A., he returned to Hawai‘i to teach math at ‘Aiea Intermediate School as a 2007 corps member, also earning his M.Ed. from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. After teaching for five years, Joshua worked in various project management roles for the Hawai‘i Department of Education and the state's Tax System Modernization Program before joining staff.
Krystal Meisel, Manager, Teacher Leadership Development
Krystal provides coaching and professional development to our first- and second-year corps members on Hawai‘i Island. She graduated with a B.A. in photography from the Brooks Institute of Photography and a M.A. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado. Krystal was a 2010 Colorado corps member where she served as a ninth and tenth grade science advisor. She also worked with a number of organizations furthering STEM and STEAM educational initiatives before joining the Hawai‘i team in 2018. Krystal holds a Restorative Justice Certification from the Colorado Restorative Justice Council.
Shayna Mora, Managing Director, Systems, Finance, & Compliance
Shayna oversees our internal finance and operations work, including managing our regional budget and office systems. She also works on our talent initiatives, including hiring and onboarding full time staff and corps member diversity recruitment. Shayna was a 2007 Hawai‘i corps member at Campbell High School in Ewa Beach and joined our full time staff in 2009. She earned her undergraduate degree, a master of education in teaching, and a master of educational foundations with a specialization in policy studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Shayna enjoys traveling and has worked in global partnership with Teach For All.
Ian Okamoto, Manager, Teacher Leadership Development
Ian provides coaching and professional development to our first- and second-year teachers in the Leeward and Central District of O‘ahu. He started his educational career as a second grade teacher at Wai‘alae Public Charter School, where he eventually served as the dean of students. Prior to joining Teach For America, Ian worked at Punahou School as a supervisor and administrative dean. Ian has a B.A. in international relations from the University of Redlands. He also has a master of education in teaching with an elementary education focus and master of education in educational administration with a K-12 focus from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Isaiah Peacott-Ricardos, Manager, School Community Solutions
Isaiah designs our community programming and facilitates professional development for teachers in the area of school and community solutions. Isaiah graduated with a B.S. in communication from Boston University and a M.Ed. in special education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He was a 2012 corps member and worked for three years at Kipapa Elementary in Mililani, his hometown. Isaiah taught K-1 special education and fully self-contained special education for students on the autism spectrum. While serving as a classroom teacher, he also served in multiple leadership roles, including special education instructional coach, data coach, and assistant literacy coach. He joined Teach For America Hawai‘i staff in 2015.
Kim Roman, Director, School Impact
Kim leads our School Impact Team, directly managing a team of five coaches across two islands and provides coaching and professional development to our first- and second-year teachers on Hawai‘i Island. Kim was born and raised in Pāhoa, Hawai‘i. She graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a bachelor of education and later earned her master of education with a concentration in international teaching from Framingham State University. Kim has 11 years of classroom teaching experience. She taught at Nanaikapono in Nānākuli, KIPP Bridge in West Oakland, Lincoln School in Costa Rica, and Chadwick International in South Korea. She is currently working on her professional coaching certification through Leadership That Works, an International Coach Federation accredited school.
Lia Rozmiarek, Senior Managing Director, Head of Program Continuum
Lia leads our program work to train and develop teachers and foster long-term leaders committed to educational equity. Lia was a 1999 Los Angeles corps member and taught for 13 years at her placement school. She primarily taught high school English and served as the school's library media teacher. She also managed the school's re-accreditation efforts. She returned home to Hawai‘i and joined Teach For America staff in 2012, initially designing our programming for second-year teachers, and then managing regional strategic initiatives, including national accreditation. Lia holds a bachelor of arts in English and history from Carnegie Mellon and a master in education from Loyola Marymount University.
Jacqueline Scanlan, Manager, Local Recruitment
Jackie works to diversify our corps to reflect our community in Hawai‘i, with a priority focus on recruitment of Native Hawaiian corps members and Hawai‘i public school graduates. Jackie graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in international relations. She returned home as a 2011 Hawai‘i corps member at James Campbell High School, teaching algebra in an inclusion setting as the learning specialist. During her third year at Campbell, Jackie served as the special education department head. She also holds a master of arts in teaching special education from Chaminade University.
Stephanie Shipton, Director, Early Engagement & Strategic Initiatives
Stephanie manages our regional strategic initiatives including our early recruitment initiative focused on identifying, engaging, and developing the leadership of our students from high school to college. She also oversees our talent strategy and provides strategic support to our executive director and leadership teams. Stephanie comes to this role with deep experience and expertise in federal and state education policy. She has served in policy and strategic analysis roles at the Hawai‘i Department of Education, The National Governors Association, and at the Alliance for Excellent Education. Stephanie graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in political science and a M.P.S in political management.
Chanel Timmons, Manager, Teacher Leadership Development
Chanel provides coaching and professional development to our first- and second-year teachers in the Leeward and Central District of O‘ahu. Chanel was a 2014 Hawai‘i corps member and taught English at Wai‘anae High School for three years, where she received the teacher of the quarter award. She holds a master of fine arts and bachelor of fine arts in English from Mills College.
Leslie Toy, Manager, Teacher Leadership Development
Leslie provides coaching and professional development to our first- and second-year teachers in the Leeward and Central District of O‘ahu. Leslie attended the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in English with a minor in global poverty and practice. She was a 2012 Hawai‘i corps member, and taught science for two years and English for one year at ‘Aiea Intermediate School. She served in a leadership capacity at ‘Aiea Intermediate as a science department head and data team lead. She was selected as a Hawai‘i State Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group and earned her master in educational leadership from Chaminade University of Honolulu.
Regional Board Chair
H. Mitchell D’Olier
Chairman, Harold K. L. Castle Foundation
Senior Advisor, The MacNaughton Group
Partner, Cades Schutte LLP
Partner, Cades Schutte LLP
Program Manager, Roberts Foundation
Sharon Shiroma Brown
Senior Vice President, First Hawaiian Bank, President, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation
Vice President and General Manager, Saks Fifth Avenue
President, Nordic Construction PCL
President and CEO, ABC Stores
Founder and Former CEO, RSI Roofing and Building
Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Hawaiian Electric Company
Executive Director, Searider Productions
Vice President of External Affairs, Island Insurance
Vice President of Community Development, The Queen’s Health Systems
Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer, HMSA
News & Media Coverage
Connect With Us
500 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 3-580
Honolulu, HI 96813
75-5706 Kuakini Highway, Suite 102
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Office location only, please send all mail to Honolulu office.
Lia Rozmiarek Held, Senior Managing Director, Head of Program Continuum