Punahou bids a warm mahalo to its faculty and staff who are celebrating milestone anniversaries or retiring from Punahou this year. We are deeply appreciative for their commitment and dedication to enrich our School and community. Punahou has greatly benefited from their longstanding contributions.
Below, we honor our 2022 honorees, who described their highlights of working at Punahou, and our cherished retirees who have left an indelible legacy at Punahou.
Top row, from left: Becky Hara, Kevin Scullion, Lee Couillard and Paula Crabb. First row, from left: Laura Sayama ’77 Nishiyama, Lisa Kuba, Terry Yamamoto-Edwards and Beryl Yanagi-Fujita. Not pictured: Juanita Budiao, Stacy Fontenot, Kimberly Garner, Jill Kawano, Sharon Komatsubara, Bernadette Morales, Lissa Lam ’72 Schiff and Luana Meyer ’81 Yee.
Juanita Budiao Custodian
For over four decades, Juanita’s sunny presence was felt in the athletic facilities where she diligently kept the area, including the offices and locker rooms, clean and ready for students, faculty and staff to use. She enjoyed watching students develop their athletic talents, especially in basketball, when someone made a three-point shot.
Juanita will miss working with fellow custodian Amelita Aquino, who she grew close with in over 40 years of working together. In her retirement she will enjoy spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren, and tending to her desert rose plants.
Lee Couillard Assistant Tennis Director
Lee has been sharing his enthusiasm for tennis with students since 1988, in the era before computers were on campus, only typewriters. Last year alone, he introduced over 1,000 students to the sport through PE. Teaching the younger grades has especially been a joy.
Lee coached the Punahou ILH intermediate girls and boys tennis teams for over 20 years. Lee has also served for USPTA Hawaii division, certifying dozens of USPTA Hawaii pros over the past 25 years, and conducted several ages 10-and-under tennis workshops at public schools and facilities.
In his retirement, Lee will continue to play and teach tennis, proving that it’s a sport for life. He is also an avid bicyclist, outdoorsman and enjoys gardening with wife Trudy. He looks forward to brushing up on his cooking skills.
Paula Crabb Academy Faculty – PE
“Take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live” is Paula’s motto in life, which she has shared with the Punahou community for nearly 50 years, inspired by her passion for leading an active, balanced lifestyle. Recognizing that passion and the importance of mind-body awareness, Paula created yoga courses to give students skills to navigate challenges and find peace of mind in this high-tech world.
In addition to teaching Academy physical education classes, she served as PE department head, After School PE director, ILH gymnastics coach for 23 years and developer and director of the K – 4 Elements of Movement program for 20 years. She introduced such activities as windsurfing and kayaking to the PE program, led a yoga, mindfulness and Hawaiian culture retreat on Moloka’i for G-Term, worked with the Sustainability Initiative to promote healthier food choices in the cafeteria and was advisor of the well-being club.
She will remain active in retirement – she has crossed the Kaiwi Channel over 60 times in outrigger canoe competitions – and will continue to support her two sons, Trevor ’08 and Taylor ’10, both professional beach volleyball players.
She is appreciative of the opportunities and support at Punahou that allowed her to grow further as a teacher. She feels blessed to be a part of the Punahou ‘ohana, working with dedicated colleagues, the Physical Plant team and all the students who brought her joy. She will truly miss Punahou, but one thing she won’t miss is having to think what cycle day it is.
Stacy Fontenot Academy Faculty – Spanish Language
Punahou has been a large part of Stacy’s life for almost 30 years, where she shared her enthusiasm for la cultura hispana with students through music, film, literature and lively conversation. She was passionate about sharing what she gleaned from trips abroad with Punahou – one to Costa Rica, where she learned about sustainable agricultural practices, and the other to Cuba. Stacy was also known for her love of cats, and Punahou has her to thank for a 20-plus year effort to care for and reduce the campus’ feral cat colony from over 50 down to just a handful.
Although Stacy will miss the friends and collegiality at Punahou, she won’t miss the commute from Mililani. She looks forward to sleeping in, more time for swimming and paddling, and seeing what comes next in retirement.
Kimberly Garner Food Service Worker
Ever since fifth grade, Kim wanted to be a part of the fast-paced environment of working in a cafeteria. The California native moved to Hawai‘i after graduating high school. She then studied hotel operations and food services at Kapi‘olani Community College before joining the team at Punahou.
Kim enjoyed working with her cafeteria “family” for 35 years, and they appreciated her as the go-to person to fill any position. At Punahou, Kim experienced all areas of the cafeteria, from making sandwiches to working special functions, her favorite being Aloha Ceremony, Carnival and Alumni Luau. In her retirement, she will continue to enjoy her preferred hobby, which is crafting prayer beads, rosaries and earrings.
Becky Hara Executive Assistant to the Vice President and Treasurer
Becky’s dedication to Punahou stems back to the early ’90s as a parent volunteer. Since 2003, she has worked in various roles at the School, including with the PFA and the development office, settling in the Vice President and Treasurer’s office in 2006, where she served John Field ’72 and Sunny Donenfeld. Becky is known for going above and beyond in her duties, earning an award for that very characteristic from the PFA.
She is grateful to Punahou for the opportunities provided to her and her family and is especially appreciative of the people who guided and befriended her along the way. In her retirement, she hopes to continue serving the School in some way, spending more time with family and friends, including husband Darryl, son Dru ’06 and daughter-in-law Gabi, and taking a cruise through Alaska and Southeast Asia.
Jill Kawano Director of Financial Services and Audit
As Director of Financial Services and Audit and previously Assistant Treasurer and Controller, Jill oversaw the School finances and about a dozen employees in the business office, bookstore, mailing room and central supply. For Jill, a high point of working at Punahou for nearly 30 years was being a part of the work that supports faculty and staff in making Punahou the wonderful school it is.
She’s also grateful to have been able to watch her three children, Mike ’08, Brad ’13 and Katey ’18, grow through their years at Punahou. While she will miss her colleagues at the School, she is looking forward to traveling, spending time with family and overseeing home renovations.
Sharon Komatsubara Administrative Assistant II
As the public face and voice of the Wo International Center, Sharon was often the first person visitors would meet at the Wo Center. For Sharon, meeting people from different countries was a perk of the job, as well as supporting the Center’s expansion of global learning initiatives and programs over the years. She is grateful for the friendships and connections formed after over two decades with colleagues, students and families both at Punahou and abroad.
Sharon is devoted to her family – all Punahou grads: husband Kerry ’72 and children Kristin ’00, Kimberly ’02 and Kurt ’06. In her retirement, she looks forward to spending time with family, traveling, staying active in her garden, experimenting in the kitchen, and making haku lei and baked goods for family and friends.
Lisa Kuba Human Resources Assistant
Since 2004, Lisa has been invested in the well-being of faculty and staff as a Human Resources assistant, associate and part of the life quality programs, supporting the department’s efforts to promote a culture of healthy mind, body and spirit. She was the friendly face who welcomed and onboarded new faculty and staff and a caring colleague who lent crucial support.
She treasured her time at Punahou School and is grateful for the friendships, opportunities and experiences. She will miss being part of the Punahou ‘ohana and daily interactions on campus, yet she is excited about living life to the fullest in her retirement, crossing items off her bucket list, and spending more time with husband Gary and daughters Jillian ’16 and Julia ’19.
Bernadette Morales Custodian
Berna had the task of taking care of the girls’ locker room and the training room as a custodian in the Athletic Department. A former basketball and volleyball player herself, she enjoyed the energy of working in that area of campus and was known for her great attitude.
After 20 years, she will miss the friendships she’s built at Punahou, including with longtime co-worker custodian Violet Dahilig, attending school functions like the annual Trustee Dinner, working with other departments like Physical Plant, and learning how to fix things. She will enjoy spending her retirement with her grandchildren and following her interests in music, dancing, painting and cars.
Laura Sayama ’77 Nishiyama Administrative Assistant II, Academy Attendance
Laura was responsible for keeping track of the attendance of 1,700-plus Academy students. Before joining the attendance office, she worked in advancement and in college counseling. Over her 20-plus years at Punahou, she also supported the Punahou Christian Athletes club, participated in a faculty and staff prayer group, and enjoyed exercising regularly with colleagues.
She feels blessed for the many positive interactions with coworkers she now calls friends, students who now know her as aunty and parents – all have inspired her to grow in knowledge, grace and compassion. She awaits the next season of her life which will include more time to serve her community and lots of joy and laughter with her family – husband Curtis, son Sean, daughters Lani, Sammy ’15 and Danie ’22, son-in-law Bryan, and grandkids Jack and Ke‘ala.
Lissa Lam ’72 Schiff Director of Advancement Operations
For 16 years, Lissa was a leader within the Advancement office, continually striving to improve processes to benefit the School and its donor and alumni communities. During her tenure, she steered annual fundraising, donor relations, events, gifts and operations. Her team’s work included supporting and organizing Punahou’s 175th anniversary celebration; the Ku’u Punahou campaign; and Buff ’n Blue Forever, where 2,000 alumni and friends celebrated former President Jim Scott’s ’70 tenure in 2019.
Experiencing Punahou as a student, parent, volunteer and employee has been an honor and privilege for Lissa, with the highlight being the feeling of contributing to something greater than herself. She looks forward to a new chapter of traveling, spending time with family and getting involved in conservation efforts.
Kevin Scullion Operations Supervisor
Kevin’s introduction to Punahou was helping with the breakdown of Alumni Luau in June of 1992. Fast forward to today, as Operations Supervisor, Kevin led the team responsible for event set-up and breakdown and numerous behind-the-scenes operations that keep campus running. Prior to that, Kevin was a bus driver, shuttling students to excursions and sporting events, joining them on hikes and cheering them on at games.
The 1974 graduate of Damien Memorial High School has enjoyed the camaraderie among his Punahou colleagues and is grateful for all the hard work his associates put in. He has also enjoyed watching students grow into remarkable people, including daughter Kealoha ’18 and nephews Kaneali‘i ’22 and Koa ’27. His wife, Kehau Kealoha-Scullion ’80 is director of Punahou’s PUEO program. In his retirement, he looks forward to more time for baking breads and scones, a hobby he picked up from working at Waioli Tea Room, and body surfing.
Terry Yamamoto-Edwards College Counselor, Academy Faculty – Science
Terry is grateful to have had the chance to teach such positive, respectful and talented students in a variety of courses and contexts for over three decades at Punahou and to work with thoughtful and passionate teachers and staff across campus.
Highlights of her time at Punahou include developing an interdisciplinary curriculum that connected biology, English and social studies, serving as Assistant Director at the Luke Center for Public Service for 10 years, traveling with colleagues to Japan, Morocco, Ghana and New Zealand, spending a transformative year in Spain for her 2017 – 2018 sabbatical, and dancing at Holokū over the many years.
Now she looks forward to future adventures with husband Chris and sons Khalil ’17 and Noah ’21, moving to Portland, Oregon, learning new things and exploring new places.
Beryl Yanagi-Fujita Co-Curricular Faculty – Punahou Music School
Since 1982, Beryl has been sharing the gift of music with generations of families at Punahou through her wonderful talents on the piano. A piano teacher and accompanist within the Punahou Music School and Music Department, she helped shape piano curriculum and also served as the Royal Conservatory of Music Center Representative for Hawai‘i.
A highlight of her time at Punahou was collaborating and creating beautiful music with colleagues and students in Montague Hall, her second home. In her retirement, she looks forward to spending more time with family, renovating her house, traveling, learning a new language, having her children teach her how to swim, and hopes to continue sharing her talents at the piano with kūpuna in care homes.
Luana Meyer ’81 Yee Junior School Faculty – Grade 3
Having taught first, second and third grade, Luana has loved working alongside dedicated and joyful teachers and experiencing students’ journeys through the younger grades. Raising money with first graders to purchase a yak for a Mongolian village, the grade 2 holiday music program and the third grade lū’au are memories she won’t soon forget.
She will miss the friendships and connections made over her 22 years at Punahou. She met her husband, Ian ’81, who was her classmate when she was 14, and they have been married 37 years and have two children, Keolamau ’10 and Noa ’12. In her retirement, she looks forward to traveling with Ian and seeing friends and family in the years to come, all over the world.
“The highlight of my time here has been the people I have come to know and love, some of which have become like family.”
“The highlight of my time working at Punahou has truly been returning ‘home’ and getting to work with amazing people! The excitement and engagement in providing our students with support and opportunities is an amazing and worthwhile reason to be here and present each day!”
“I have enjoyed meeting and working with many wonderful people here at Punahou. Working in the Summer School Office for 10 years has given me the opportunity to develop meaningful friendships along the way. I am especially grateful for my awesome coworkers who make each day fun!”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has been working with so many wonderful colleagues. Over the years, they have supported, encouraged and inspired me. There is a true feeling of ‘ohana in the Punahou community, and it is one of the reasons I love coming to school every day.”
“Having been blessed with the friendships with current and former co-workers. The support, faith and love they have shown me has been a priceless gift.”
“Watching my nieces, nephews and now son experience Punahou.”
“Learning from and with our students and colleagues have been filled with highlights. Whether it was teaching eighth grade on Team 8Z with former Punahou teachers around personalized inquiry projects, to collaborating with colleagues on our self study, K – 5 literacy, Damon Speech …”
“Working at an innovative, modern and safe school environment. I am grateful to be able to watch my son thrive all the way from Kindergarten to graduation.”
“Having the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of our students. My life was immeasurably changed for the better as a student here. Being able to give back and hopefully have a similarly positive impact on others has been an incredible honor.”
“You mean aside from the teri burgers? It’s been the people. I work with an absurdly talented and warm-hearted team of colleagues. The alumni and families I’ve gotten to know are generous, humble, passionate; uniquely Punahou people. It’s been an inspiring decade.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou would have to be the many wonderful friendships I’ve cultivated over the years. Cheers to 10 years and many more!”
“Punahou is a very nice place with kind and friendly people.”
“I have many highlights over the past 10 years at Punahou School. The top highlight is working with great people in a caring community. The community is like a second family, very supportive and resourceful.”
“I enjoy working at Punahou with my co-workers and being able to use my professional skills in the work that I do for the kids.”
“(The highlight for me is) working with great people.”
“Being surrounded by fun, dedicated and interesting colleagues on a daily basis, being a part of the lives of the students, and having my wonderful wife and crazy kids all on campus together. Learning everyday in a job that matters. No day is ever dull or the same.”
“Highlights include serving as Director of Alumni Relations for eight years, getting to know alumni and friends of Punahou around the world; 175th Celebration Director for two years; 35-plus glorious projects and events; counting down to fire the fireworks at the 175th Flaming P; Director of Donor Engagement for six years; philanthropic impact and helping others.”
“I was able to work with nice and very supportive people. The staff and faculty are friendly. I am very thankful and felt assured that even with the pandemic situation, I was given work.”
“15 years (wow!), and I realize the highlight of my time at Punahou is not one event. My highlights are individuals whom I have always admired across campus from Bishop to Wo to Sullivan and back to my home Cooke. Your kindness, care and generous hearts are unparalleled. Grateful!”
“I have so many great memories over the years and they all revolve around the wonderful people I have been blessed to work with.”
“Developing the gardening and apiary programs on our campus has been the highlight of my time here. I love that Punahou gave me the opportunity to develop these kinds of experiences for students K – 12 so that they explore and practice their relationship to place as they grow up.”
“I have loved everything about my time at Punahou. Even the most difficult moments are opportunities to grow. I will always treasure the students and the chance to learn with this incredible community of colleagues.”
“I am grateful for the people and relationships Iʻve made. From the curious and adventurous students and families, to my well-read and witty colleagues. The teachers that have nurtured and challenged my daughters, during their 13 and going on 11 years at Punahou School. Mahalo!”
“It has been a great privilege to be a part of Punahou as a groundskeeper. I became who I am because of the trust that this institution had shown me despite my weaknesses. My services have brought me much satisfaction as many people have benefited from them.”
“I have enjoyed telling stories on behalf of the school and working with students to produce live webcasts for the community to enjoy.”
“There have been so many highlights over the years. My favorite would be building relationships around the world through my work with SGLI Punahou and SGLI India.”
“Supporting student-athletes as they navigate Punahou, college and for some professional sports. Watching them grow as athletes then responsible young adults is amazing. I am honored several former athletes visit and continue to keep in touch with me to this day. A true blessing.”
“Going to Samoa with other faculty to meet up with the Worldwide Voyage of Hokulea.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has been the amazing students and colleagues with whom I have had the opportunity to learn and work. They have served to motivate and inspire me, and provide purpose in my professional life.”
“A couple years ago a third grader was accepted for fourth grade and needed help enrolling. Her parents spoke very little English so she and I worked together over the phone to complete her enrollment contract; she asked questions, I explained, and then she translated for her parents.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou is being able to keep the facility safe and clean and seeing that my hard work make students and staff happy.”
”Meeting many of the wonderful people. Being in IT we assist with technical issues, so we’re able to meet a lot of people on campus. And also my daughter graduating last year, I was happy that she had a graduation event that my wife and I were able to attend.”
“First of all I would like to give thanks to our heavenly father for blessing me with these 20 years at Punahou. It’s a blessing to work at Punhaou get to know a lot of people and learn a lot of things.”
“I cherish mentoring students: helping them discover the magic and beauty of language, affirming the worth of their thoughts, words and presence, and empowering them to create positive change in our world.”
“I love working with all of the amazing teachers in the math department. These people, now my friends, are so collegial. They listen to everyone’s ideas, to try something new, and to share resources to make sure everyone is comfortable teaching the students in their classes.”
“The highlight of working at Punahou was being part of the redevelopment of the entire Junior School campus. What also makes Punahou most enjoyable is working with the people in our department. They are very supportive of me as their director, and more importantly, dedicated to the School.”
“Learning from Patty Oshiro that I can donate money back to the school through my payroll.”
“Collaborating with amazing colleagues, having the opportunity to try so many new things, and being close to my family.”
“Having meaningful conversation with my students and seeing them grow and working with inspiring colleagues with whom I can share my passion for teaching.”
“I will never forget the time I met President elect (at the time) Obama in Jan 2009. He was playing basketball in the gym and our office provided lunch. Barack greeted and thanked us for lunch. Then he put his hand on my shoulder, I put my hand on his … I nearly melted.”
“Having Generals Colin Powell and Eric Shinseki visit Punahou to speak to JROTC cadets and marching with cadets in two Presidential Inauguration parades.”
“I think my highlights are those occasions when I’ve seen students have an ‘a-ha’ moment in class. Witnessing such discovery and wonder and joy is hard to put into words. I have experienced times at Punahou when the work has felt transcendent.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has been working with great people throughout the years and creating life-long friendships with faculty and staff across campus. I am also so very grateful and blessed to have both my children attend Punahou.”
“One of the highlights of my time at Punahou was being able to share my heritage, the Okinawan culture. A former student created the Japanese-Okinawan club in 2005, and a colleague and I were able to actually take students to Okinawa twice for G-Term, in 2018 and 2019!”
“My boss is very nice and treats me well. I like the people here at Punahou.”
“Coming to work every morning feeling this is where I belong and ending each day on the same high note has been a daily highlight at Punahou. I am humbly grateful to colleagues, parents, students, travel partners worldwide, and Wo Center supporters for their goodwill and trust.”
“In my experience of 25 years at Punahou School, I’ve worked with so many nice and friendly people. More importantly, I am in charge of hardworking groundsmen who keep our school landscape and grounds beautiful.”
“I am fortunate to work with students over a variety of grades. Seeing their growth from year to year and helping them develop their voice and confidence is so rewarding.”
“The highlight of my 25-plus years at Punahou has been teaching and coaching with amazing professionals and forming positive relationships.”
“I still pinch myself each day when I come to Punahou! The years have flown by as it’s such a joyful place. When I reflect on my time here, I am forever grateful for all of the people I’ve worked alongside and for the many students who have been curious and engaged learners.”
“Punahou has supported me in reinventing myself several times. I ran the glass and ceramic shop, built and ran the high ropes course, developed and ran several camps for 25 years, worked in the counseling department, was department head three times, and was supported to teach in Tunisia for two years.”
“I have had MANY highlights during my time at Punahou Music School – I have the privilege of teaching many children often from when they are toddlers to Senior Soloists in the Symphony Concerto Concerts and we have worked to build a nationally respected Suzuki Program at Punahou Music School.”
“The ENERGY. The Energy here on campus is different, somedays more somber and others more wired. The Energy I feel is a ‘highlight’ for me, I never know what I’m gonna feel. I look forward to each day with the people I work with and the kind of energy they bring. It’s a surprise!”
“(The highlight for me has been) not working for a living.”
“Witnessing students become true global citizens as they interacted with native speakers, marveled at sites that they had studied about in class, and made new international friends during many of the Punahou trips abroad that I have been fortunate enough to chaperone.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has to be coming to work everyday and making memorable moments with my fellow colleagues.”