Special Acknowledgement to All Teachers and Educators

We know what a special yet demanding job that teachers have.  It requires many hours that go well beyond 9-5.  The job entails an abundance of  varying skills that would put most CEO's to shame.  Patience, compassion, understanding and a tremendous amount of hard work are a part of their daily lives.  For all that you do for our children, communities and society we say "Mahalo" from the bottom of our hearts to all teachers and educators.

For these very reasons we would like to acknowledge some very special educators that have believed in what we are doing from the start. They have  provided us with valuable insight along the way. 

Marylee Fredericksen

Sara Deblin

Wendy Paik

Heather Cornell

Tahara'a Stein

Sherry Gonsalves

Sarah Schoenfeld-Nakamoto

Our Curriculum Team listed below

Just Released New Curriculum/Teachers and Educators Guide

Created for the Aloha Books to help Public and Private Educators, Charter Schools and Homeschoolers


This curriculum guide provides lesson plans for the following student workbooks; upper elementary book “Aloha — What It Means to My ‘Ohana and Yours” and lower elementary book “Aloha — What It Means to My ‘Ohana”.

Our goal in creating this curriculum guide is to make the teacher’s job easier in delivering and teaching the book, and for students to gain a better understanding of the Hawaiian culture and the place they call home.

There are numerous applications that can be used individually or combined, including: 

· As a tool that supports the Hawaii Board of Education Policy 3-E, Nā Hopena A’o. Statements. The content of the book is directly related to and aligns with the Statements of Nā Hopena A’o.

· “Building Character through Aloha” - Included in this guide are 14 lessons of Aloha taught in the classroom, that serve as a character guide for kids individually and as an entire classroom, helping develop their social-emotional well-being.

· Can be used as a tool for a Hawaiian Studies program.

· The values can be expanded upon through a school’s Kupuna Program.  Kumus can go more in-depth into the cultural aspects and provide an even deeper meaning and examples for each Hawaiian value. 

· Counselors can utilize the book to help further expand on existing programs. Lessons cite and support CASEL Competencies, as well as school GLO’s. 

· Each lesson cites and supports DOE Academic Standards (CCSS, NGSS, and/or HCPS III) and GLO’s, and can be used in the classroom for writing, reading, social studies, Hawaiian studies, arts and above all a platform to share their opinions and create their own questions and answers.

There are 2 components to all 14 lesson plans of Aloha : the first component is intended to both guide students through the workbook lesson, and expand upon that lesson with additional, grade-level specific activities; the second component is the “Building Character Through Aloha” social-emotional lesson. This lesson can be implemented by the teacher, or a counselor. It relates to, and references, the workbook lesson, however, it is a stand-alone lesson, and could be delivered separately. 


Our Curriculum Team


Marika Anderson - Managing Coordinator


Marika Anderson has worked in the field of education, in both public and private sectors, for 8 years in myriad capacities: learning specialist, secondary math and science educator, curriculum developer, and board of director’s member. She has a passion for interdisciplinary, project-based learning, and creating curriculum that is place-based and personal, building relevance and context into learning experiences. She has a bachelor’s of science from Cal Poly, SLO and a master’s in education from Harvard University. She is grateful to live in a beautiful valley on the north shore of Kauai, where she and her family, friends and neighbors learn and cultivate teachings of aloha. 

Shana Brown

Shana Brown - 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Grade Lessons Plans

  In 2005, after much careful thought, Shana made a decision to become an educator. She had been working with children on a voluntary basis in one of the toughest housing projects of Chicago and felt compelled to do more to help children. Since then, she has obtained two Masters in Education degrees from DePaul University in Teaching and Learning for Elementary Education as well as Language, Literacy, and Specialized Instruction. She has taught in many types of classrooms including general education, electives, intervention, and special education. In 2014, her journey lead her to Kauai to serve the Westside community.  At time of publication, she was a special education teacher at Waimea Canyon Middle School. Her passion and focus is on differentiation of instruction and helping teachers optimize this in their classrooms. She feels honored to be part of this project in aloha and hopeful about the positive learning environment we can create for our keiki!


Erin Noel - "Building Charater Through Aloha" -Social Emotional Lessons

 Erin Noel is a special education teacher with 12 years of experience  planning and delivering instruction for preschool - 8th grade students.  In August 2017 Erin began working for the Hawaii DOE. She earned  her Bachelor of Science degree in Inclusive Elementary and Special  Education from Syracuse University. In addition, she has certifications in  teaching Gifted and Talented Education as well as teaching students  with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Most recently she earned her   Master of Education degree in Inclusive Education and Universal Design  for Learning from University of San Diego. Erin enjoys teaching because   her career provides an opportunity to collaborate with other professionals  to enrich children’s lives within the academic and social skills they need to   reach their goals and be meaningful members of their communities. 


Michelle Rutz - 5th & 6th Grade Lesson Plans

Michelle Rutz has been working with children for over 30 years.  She has a California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, two Montessori teaching credentials for lower and upper elementary grades and a Master’s degree in Education in Curriculum and Instruction.  Michelle's past experience includes Head Start Family Specialist, Children's Pastor, Coordinator of gifted students program,  Montessori teacher (4-6th grades) at the California Montessori Project and Curriculum Coordinator for a Kauai private school.  Michelle recently retired from teaching to complete her doctorate in Psychology.  



  With increasing pressure to address all the standards, finding time for “one more thing” may seem too much for teachers, however, I found that the Aloha lessons can be done in just 20-30 minutes per week over the course of 14 weeks. I can then easily connect so much of what we do to them. Most importantly the students look forward to it and understand better when I ask them to focus, persevere, respect each other, and help one another to learn regardless of culture or ability. The students take these Aloha books and lessons home.  Learning to care for one another and the place that we live will create a strong community built on Aloha. The benefits of the Aloha book last beyond our lifetime.

KR – 4th Grade Teacher

Hanalei School, Hanalei, HI