Meet this year’s new teachers

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Photos courtesy of Totoki (left), Kishi-Char (top right), and Ehara (bottom right).

The Cane Tassel Staff

Arbie Campuspos joins the faculty this year as a Marine Science and Physics teacher. He previously taught at a school in San Francisco for about two years. Campuspos initially didn’t consider becoming a teacher, as he originally studied engineering in college, but found that he didn’t really enjoy it. Rather, he realized that he enjoyed working more with the community, which led him to become a teacher. 

Campuspos’s interest in science began when he took a physics class as a Waipahu High School student. While he was a student here, Campuspos was also part of the Student Council and The Cane Tassel.

He finds teaching marine science especially enjoyable and significant as “We live on an island; there’s water everywhere. I kind of see it as applying science more [in] the real world.” Campuspos would like his students to leave his class knowing that “There’s no such thing as being a ‘science person’ or not being a ‘science person.’”

 

English teacher Nicole Ehara was inspired to follow in the footsteps of some of her family members who are also teachers. Out of all the schools in Hawaii, Ehara’s first choice of schools to teach at was Waipahu High school. Ehara says, “I really like the academy structure here,” and feels that it has everything we need for the future.

Ehara enjoys teaching and talking to new people at Waipahu High School. During her free time, she enjoys playing video games and reading books. Her favorite book is “The Hunger Games.” She also likes “eating anything spicy.”

 

Special education science teacher Erika Espiritu (’07) took a “long route” to becoming a teacher. She first attended Hawaii Pacific University and was interested in pursuing nursing, but then came across the health sciences program. In health sciences, Ms. Espiritu did fieldwork at an elementary school where she had to educate students about diseases and health awareness. This experience sparked her interest in teaching. Espiritu got her bachelor’s degree in health sciences, then worked as an educational assistant at Waipahu High School for six years then pursued a licensure in special education at LCC. Espiritu is now in her first year of teaching here. She loves teaching because of the students, and has learned the importance of flexibility and time management: “If you are not flexible, you will definitely stress yourself out!”

 

Sarah Fujioka teaches World History and Participation in Democracy for the Academy of Arts and Communication. She took inspiration for her career from relatives in education, having grown up with a relative teaching at every school she attended.

Fujioka feels that teaching is “good opportunity for me to be there for those [struggling] students because [she] didn’t have that in high school.” Fujioka studied at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo, Japan. She then worked as a part-time teacher in the English Language Learners (ELL) department at Lanakila Elementary School. 

Outside of school, she is interested in stationery and playing games. Her love of games has rubbed off on her students, who come to her classroom during lunch to play board games and may create a club for these activities in the future. 

 

Before becoming a special education social studies teacher, Brooke Kanaeholo worked as paraprofessional tutor from November 2019, then as an educational assistant from January 2020 here at Waipahu High School. Now as a first-year teacher, Kanaeholo has enjoyed getting to know her students and their personalities. She loves how “everyone at this school is so supportive,” though things “outside of teaching like meetings and trying to keep up with all the emails” have been challenging. Kanaeholo’s hobbies include photography, sneakers, online shopping, and searching for the best place on the island for ramen. Her favorite ramen spot is Kizuki in Oregon.  

 

After attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Nancy Kishi-Char began her teaching career at Pearl City High School. Kishi-Char switched from majoring in math to Japanese in college, having always loved Japan and its language. She was unable to find a position as a Japanese teacher, and taught math for her first year at Pearl City.

Kishi-Char was able to teach Japanese after transferring to Nanakuli Intermediate and High School. After teaching Japanese there for some time, she transferred to Kalani High School, where she stayed until last school year. 

Here at Waipahu High School, Kishi-Char says, “The students have been super amazing and very respectful! My students have been catching on to things super fast and are fun to teach.” Outside of school, Kishi-Char enjoys bon dancing, which is typically done during Obon or the Bon Festival.

 

Before joining the Waipahu High School faculty, English teacher Jennifer Totoki spent three years teaching English in Japan. Despite the challenge of teaching through the pandemic, a highlight of teaching at Waipahu High School for Totoki so far has been meeting all the students and teachers at school. “It’s been fun getting to know everyone and becoming a part of the school community,” Totoki says. Outside of school, she enjoys playing volleyball, going to the beach, and doing DIY and craft projects.