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 2023 honorees, who described their highlights of working at Punahou, and our cherished retirees who have left an indelible legacy at Punahou.
Pepito, a skilled carpenter, worked at Punahou for over 25 years. Initially hired as a groundsperson, he impressed the carpenters while assisting them during Carnival and was offered a carpentry position in the Maintenance Department. Pepito remained in that role for more than two decades and enjoyed working alongside other carpenters, honing his skills and improving his craft.
Throughout his time at Punahou, Pepito saw the campus change and evolve, with new buildings and updated Carnival booths. His son Rudy ’04 attended Punahou and worked with the Operations Department during summers. Outside of work, Pepito enjoys working on home improvement projects and gardening.
York Yin Chang Food Service Worker
Yin has been a part of Punahou’s cafeteria team for 35 years, alongside her three sisters. Originally from China’s Canton Province, she immigrated to Hawaii in 1979 with her husband and family. She last served as a cashier in the Academy dining room, having previously worked in the faculty dining room making salads and baking for the snack bar. Yin was well known as a hardworking member of the team.
Her favorite part of working at Punahou will always be the children, as they are so delightful and respectful and she will miss that. In her retirement, she will enjoy spending more time with her husband, shopping and eating out. Yin and her husband have two Punahou graduates, Shari ’00 and Alan ’07.
Lola Colombe Administrative Assistant – College Counseling
Lola has been a part of the Punahou community since 2005, starting as an annual giving officer in Advancement before becoming an administrative assistant in the Music and Dance Schools, and finally the College Counseling Department.
Lola looks back with fondness on friendships she developed with wonderful colleagues who are assets to the institution, as well as her contributions to fundraising efforts for the School and supporting students through their educational journeys.
As Lola prepares for retirement, she looks forward to pursuing her hobbies – playing the bagpipes, training her dog, traveling and gardening – and spending more time with loved ones, including her two sons in Germany and North Carolina, and her 98-year-old mother in California.
Shelley Fey Academy Faculty/Department Chair – PE
Starting in 1988, Shelley Fey has been teaching PE to students in grade 5 – 6 and the Academy for 35 years, and held the position of Academy Physical Education Department chair and director of the After School PE program for the last 20-plus years. She previously served as head coach for girls varsity basketball and intermediate girls volleyball, assistant coach to girls intermediate basketball and kayaking, and HOPE committee member.
Standout moments in her career include rebuilding the girls basketball program, which resulted in winning the first state championship in over a decade and the heartwarming impromptu recognition of the athletes during Punahou’s Holokū performance that evening; growing the K – 12 PE department; and watching students transform through PE and athletics.
While it will be hard for Shelley to leave what she considers the best job in the world and the caring and brilliant colleagues who shaped her professional growth, she looks forward to seeing what’s in store for Punahou and for herself – more time for her active pursuits, traveling and family.
Mark Flynn Supervisor – Custodial
Mark started at Punahou in 1998 as a custodian, worked in Operations and Maintenance, and ultimately became the supervisor of the Custodial Department. Highlights of his time included working under former Director of Physical Plant Steve Piper, witnessing the transformation of campus’ buildings, watching his son, Steve ’06, graduate from Punahou, and growing his own knowledge and talents.
In his retirement, Mark looks forward to spending more time with friends and family, helping out at his close friend’s Irish pub, continuing to play drums in a couple bands, and staying active through surfing, qi gong and yoga. He will miss the custodial team and special places on campus, such as the Lily Pond and Bingham Rock, but will hold onto their mana.
Charlotte Kamikawa Director of Physical Plant
Charlotte was at the center of major transformations across campus and meticulous facility management. Her 20-year tenure at Punahou began with the construction management of the Case Middle School, and she rose to director of Physical Plant in 2017, where she managed a crew of over 130 groundskeepers, custodians and maintenance workers who care for the School’s 76-acre campus.
Charlotte oversaw the construction of such significant campus projects as the Flanders Dance Pavilion, Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood and Kosasa Community for Grades 2 – 5. She was also responsible for maintaining the School’s facilities, which total 900,000 square feet. In retirement, Charlotte plans to travel and enjoy more leisure time after years of dedicated service to the School.
JeanneLindgren Junior School Faculty – Grade 7 Science
Jeanne taught seventh grade science at Punahou since 2006. Over the years, she cherished seeing the Mars Domes science project come to life, working with students and colleagues on an interdisciplinary project on Kaho‘olawe, and witnessing the joy of learning brought by the annual cardboard boat race.
Outside of work, Jeanne enjoys swimming, hiking, creating pottery on the wheel and gardening. She feels grateful for the support of the Punahou community in helping her create rich learning experiences for her students. Ever an advocate for curiosity and expanding one’s sense of wonder, Jeanne will embark on a new adventure of teaching and learning in Italy.
Francene Malloe Lead Food Service Worker
Starting part-time as a dishwasher, Franny worked her way up to head cook before moving into her role in the snack bar. Highlights of her 35 years at Punahou include learning the ins and outs of the food service business, which kept her interested and engaged, and working with her peers in the cafeteria.
Affectionately known as “Aunty Franny,” she also loved working with students and felt like a part of their family. While she is looking forward to spending more time with her own family and grandchildren, she will miss everyone at Punahou, a place where she felt comfortable and at home.
Lauren Medeiros Chaplain
As a Punahou Chaplain, Lauren has been a dynamic force, playing a vital role in the School’s spiritual and cultural life for nearly 30 years. Whether leading a chapel, offering prayers for significant events, or showing up to “boom-chicka-boom” at Junior School pep rallies, Lauren made everyone feel seen and appreciated, from the youngest learners to administrators, faculty and staff.
Her commitment to “affirm the worth and dignity of each individual” and her passion for student-led chapels made way for exciting K – 5 chapel experiences, forming a sense of community and seamlessly weaving together storytelling, music, art, Hawaiian culture, character education and inclusion.
She has championed causes affirming the worth and dignity of each individual: facilitating the creation of campus labyrinths and planting peace trees. She organized the Chapel’s 50th-anniversary celebration, developed stories of Punahou’s founding for its 175th anniversary, told the stories of the Chapel doors, and made connections with the voyages of Hōkūle‘a, including greeting chapel students from South Africa in real time – before Webex! She listened, empathized, shared moments of triumph and pain, and helped the Punahou community see the beauty and joy of the world.
BJ Namba Junior School Faculty – Grade 3
BJ has been a member of the Punahou community for 27 years, arriving after 12 years at the Kamehameha Schools and three years in the public schools. Being able to teach third grade was the greatest gift as she was able to help students learn and appreciate the life and traditions of old Hawai‘i and our Island home.
As the coordinator of the third grade lū‘au, she helped make the year special for countless students over the years at both the Winne Units and the Kosasa Community. Some of her favorite memories are from the numerous imu nights and lū‘aus, and how so many people came together to create this unforgettable experience.
The high point of her time at Punahou has been the lasting friendships she made, the talented and inspiring colleagues she worked with, and the rambunctious third graders who brought her joy and laughter every day.
In retirement, BJ looks forward to spending time with her husband, continuing Crossfit, renovating their home, reading, and enjoying her new puppy, Hero. Her son, Liam ‘16, has invited her to visit him in California whenever she wants, especially to shop and visit wineries. She is thrilled that her daughter, Zoe ’12, is now teaching in Case Middle School, and can continue making her laugh with the antics of middle schoolers.
Marlene Patton Junior School Faculty – Grades 4 – 5 Music
Marlene taught choir, musical theatre, music explorations and keyboard for 37 years at Punahou in the middle school, with a final year in grades 4 – 5. She served as musical director for over 50 middle school musical theatre productions and a dozen senior Variety Shows, coordinated and directed the middle school Pops Show, and started the music technology program.
Through her love for global music and vast travel experience, including a Fulbright-Hayes Summer Fellowship to Thailand in 2018, she led students on diverse musical and cultural explorations. She delighted in witnessing her students’ “ah-ha” moments as they realized their own talents, and the significance of music for humanity.
Marlene is grateful for the connections she made and the professional development opportunities at Punahou. For her next chapter, she hopes to travel and spend time with family, including daughters Danielle ’07 and Allison ’11, practice yoga and sound healing, and share her love of music at a local community youth center.
Anya Gasinski ’80 Pitzer Junior School Faculty – Grades 7 – 8 Language
Anya first came to Punahou as a seventh grader. During her 30-plus-year career, she served as head of the middle school World Language Department, a seventh grade Spanish and French teacher, the middle school grade dance coordinator, taught at the elementary level, and took students to France, Spain and Mexico.
She enjoyed constantly reinventing herself as a teacher so her students could benefit from best teaching practices. She cherished the relationships she built with colleagues who became like family, and the youthful honesty, humor and energy of the seventh graders.
As she enters retirement, she plans to move to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state to be closer to family and friends, including her son, Brandon ’11, and continue her pastimes of baking, painting and outdoor walks.
Nineteen years ago, alumna Kathy began work at the School as a first grade assistant teacher in Winne, where she too had spent first grade as a student. She enjoyed working with Punahou’s young learners, especially being greeted by their happy smiling faces every morning. Moving to the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood was a memorable bonding experience for Kathy and her colleagues.
In retirement, she looks forward to spending more time with her husband and son, Zach ’13, and continuing to enjoy walking on Kailua beach, reading and crafts. Kathy is grateful for all of the wonderful people she met while working at Punahou and how much she gained professionally and personally.
Audrey Seki Executive Assistant to the President
Audrey has been working at Punahou since 1990. She has had the privilege of working closely with three Punahou presidents, the Board of Trustees, administrative leadership, faculty, staff, parents and students. Her three children, Jim Jr. ’99, Jenna ’03 and Scott ’06 attended Punahou from K – 12 and received the best education, for which she, husband Jim, and their children will be forever grateful.
Being a part of the Punahou ‘ohana has been one of the most rewarding experiences for her and her family. Audrey enjoys reading, gardening, cooking and baking, golfing, traveling and spending time with family and friends. She treasures the friendships she has made and thanks everyone for their aloha, support and friendship. Audrey looks forward to retirement and wishes the Punahou community continued success.
Lorinne Yee ’81 Shiigi Endowed Fund Officer – Advancement
Lorinne began working at Punahou in 2000 as a Restricted Funds Officer before the role of Endowed Fund Officer. Over the years, she formed strong relationships with faculty, staff, donors and alumni. She also cherished the opportunity to be a part of a community that nurtures and helps students grow and thrive, as she saw with her own two sons who attended Punahou, Ryan ’13 and Riley ’17.
Outside of work, Lorinne enjoys cooking, reading, camping, fishing and traveling. As she retires after 23 wonderful years at Punahou, she looks forward to exploring new hobbies and spending time with her husband on Hawai‘i Island. Knowing she will miss the uplifting daily interactions and meaningful connections she has made in the community, Lorinne plans to stay connected to Punahou for many years to come.
Michelle Cruz Skinner Academy Faculty – English
Michelle taught at Punahou since 1999, where she last served as an Academy English faculty member and advisor of the senior class and the Filipino Club. She most enjoyed insightful discussions with colleagues and discovering how students best learn.
High points in her career included inspiring students to have fun with Shakespeare, working with students on independent writing projects, mentoring new teachers, supporting students’ Filipino heritage, and working with the team that secured the endowment for the Writer-in-Residence program..
She enjoys reading, gardening, walks on the beach, time with family, and is looking forward to having more time to travel and to dedicate to her writing projects.
“We take pride in our work, ensuring that the campus remains a clean, safe and inviting space for everyone. What truly sets Punahou apart is the camaraderie between my coworkers. I am filled with excitement and anticipation for what the future holds.”
“The highlight of working at Punahou has been the people. So lucky to be able to spend my days with this caring and dedicated group!”
“The camaraderie and support I have experienced while working alongside my dedicated coworkers have been great. The strong sense of teamwork has made my time at Punahou truly enjoyable, and I am thankful for the connections and friendships forged during these years.”
“It has been wonderful to work alongside amazing colleagues and with students who inspire me everyday. I am grateful for the 10 years I’ve had working at Punahou. I look forward to continuing to grow professionally and to being a part of the school community in the years ahead.”
“One of the things that I have appreciated most about working at Punahou is the opportunity for growth and development. I enjoy what I do and take pride in my work. Knowing that I am helping to create a better place to learn and work is fulfilling.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou is seeing my daughter (Megan ’21) graduate, sitting next to her (and my wife) throughout the commencement ceremony held on campus at Alexander Field in 2021. Additionally, seeing my daughter’s athletic accomplishments in tennis.”
“I love watching my students use every step of the design thinking process to design and fabricate prosthetics for wounded sea animals. I feel so blessed to teach at a school that has the resources to give these kids such an unforgettable learning opportunity.”
“I’ve never had a boring day at work. Sometimes challenging, sometimes exhausting, but never, ever, a boring day at work!”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou is having the opportunities to take students for international trips to explore the world. I have taken them to Taiwan, Okinawa, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan and Korea so far. We have created wonderful memories together.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has been the people. Each day, I look forward to the enthusiasm of the children and everyone who is a part of the community. Together, they create a dynamic and engaging teaching and learning environment which stretches me to grow.”
“Beyond teaching, building friendships with my colleagues has been a highlight of my time at Punahou, especially the ‘old-timers’ who included me in their daily lunch group at the caf. I miss their engaging conversations and hope the tradition continues with the newer teachers.”
“One of the many highlights would be working with a team of funny, caring, smart, talented and dedicated people, all of whom I consider my friends. Everything we do together has an element of fun, no matter how challenging, and I feel their support and respect every day!”
“I’ve been able to make some great friends and work with some incredible people.”
“ʻOiai nui ka pōmaikaʻi o kēia mau makahiki he 10, ʻo ke ʻano i pōmaikaʻi loa ai au ʻo ia ka launa a me ka hana pū ʻana me nā hoa kumu e ʻimi mau ana i ka ʻoi kelakela o ka ʻoihana hoʻonaʻauao. Eia hou, ʻo ka ʻike ʻana i ka ulu o ka papa hana ʻike Hawaiʻi ma ke kula.”
Translation: Although there have been many blessings of the past 10 years, the way in which I have been most blessed is to have been able to work alongside awesome colleagues. Second to this, is to have been able to witness the substantial growth of the ʻIke Hawaiʻi program across the school.
“I have been blessed with awesome coworkers and have made great friendships here in the past ten years! Mahalo Punahou ‘Ohana!”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has been helping the Punahou Chess Team win numerous state championships, and helping the Punahou Chess elementary team win fifth place at the national blitz championship.”
“I enjoy working in the collaborative Academy environment, consulting regularly with counselors and deans in the care of students. Given my previous work in the Junior School, I appreciate seeing students evolve and feel honored to support some students and parents on their journey.”
“The highlights of my time at Punahou have been working in a fun, collaborative and multicultural Language Department, watching the students delight as they realize how much Spanish they learn, and exploring the personal and professional growth opportunities available at Punahou.”
“At Punahou, I am blessed to be able to work with highly motivated people who inspire me every day to be my best self. Also, to be being able to watch my kids play PE on Wo Field from my work window. The joy and happiness on their faces brightened my day.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has most definitely been the opportunity to work alongside some of the most incredible, bright, kind people I have ever met. They keep me smiling every day.”
“Getting to know students through classes, Science Bowl, and field trips has been incredibly rewarding. I’ve also gained so much from working alongside truly remarkable teachers and my own skills have greatly improved due to their guidance.”
“Getting to know the students!”
“I love how students are always extremely happy and full of energy to come to my class. I cherish the lifelong and meaningful relationships I have with all my colleagues. The biggest joy has been teaching at the same place with my family, Ian, Mehana ’28 and Keola ’30.”
“One highlight among many are the many friendships with colleagues and now lifelong friends. These friendships have shaped who I am today. I am part of an extraordinary community of people.”
“Helping to rethink the geometry curriculum and planning joint activities with Kaimuki High STEM students are highlights of my time at here at Punahou. I feel blessed to be able to watch my students grow and to work alongside such a supportive community of colleagues every day.”
“The highlight of my time here at Punahou has been all the lifetime friendships I’ve made throughout the years and being able to grow with my son here as a 13-year student.”
“Getting to work with students who come to Luke Center eager to make a positive difference in the world. I love that I get to come to work every day in such beautiful surroundings. Kudos to all the hardworking Physical Plant staff who keep this campus looking so lovely!”
“The two biggest professional gifts of my time at Punahou have been working alongside so many amazing friends and mentors, and getting to work every day with an increasingly diverse, dynamic and engaging group of students.”
“I am grateful to be surrounded by a community who supports me to be my best self, and students who are motivated to learn and will make the world a better place. A major highlight is whenever I run into a former student and they tell me I inspired them to be who they are today.”
“Witnessing the joy of children playing freely and engaging in learning brings immense satisfaction. The picturesque campus and our commitment to maintaining a clean and healthy environment for the K – 1 Omidyar further enhance the overall experience at Punahou.”
“Mahalo to all of the staff, my colleagues and students whose kindness and warmth have made each day golden. Being a member of the Punahou ‘Ohana has been one of the great joys of my life. Mahalo nui loa, Punahou School. I look forward to the wonderful years ahead!”
“My highlight was the day my favorite piano, Mason and Hamlin, came to my studio. The sound is so beautiful and all my students are also happy with the piano. Since I started giving lessons on this piano, I am happy that my students are playing with better sound.”
“One of the highlights of my time at Punahou has been the ability to support students’ passions by collaborating with students, colleagues, and the entire school community to help to create new activities at school, such as Robotics, Engineering and eSports.”
“My students’ exploration of the language of music in their elementary years, to becoming mature musicians in their Academy years is a wonderful journey to behold. To see them express themselves and connect with music is my greatest joy working at Punahou School.”
“I really enjoy working with our wonderful students, staff and faculty – helping them find excellent library resources, or hearing about interesting books that they’re reading. I’ve learned a lot during the planning process for our renovation – it will be amazing when it’s done.”
“Being surrounded by talented, conscientious and fun colleagues who have shared their unique experiences, insight and keen knowledge. Grateful for the support in making IT Procurement a paperless environment, allowing us to save space, time, money and our precious trees.”
“Watching many children grow up and working alongside amazing and dedicated colleagues and friends. Nothing is better than to arrive at Punahou each morning only to hear a child’s voice say, “Good Morning!” That never stops filling your bucket or putting a smile on your face!”
“I am extremely grateful to be able work with talented and passionate colleagues, across many departments, who inspire me to seek out ways to use my talents to positively impact the lives of our students.”
“My first highlight was being given the support, trust and autonomy to develop Buddhist Philosophy and the Game of Go, which just simply wouldn’t happen at other schools. Second, and equally important, would be working with (and having lunch with!) so many amazing people.”
“Laughing with the TAs and teachers in the old Wilcox teachers lounge, with coworkers in College Counseling while one did his comedy routine at the coffee bar, with the ‘island’ crew at the after-school carline and hearing our CMS ‘ohana’s laughter at Happy Aloha Friday Coffees.”
“Working with our neurodivergent and LGBTQIAA+ students who are some of the most vulnerable in our community, and creating safe environments that celebrate and affirm who they are – paying forward the safe spaces my Punahou teachers (like Liz Foster) created for me.”
“Seeing ʻike and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi expand and flourish at Punahou has been a huge highlight for me. I have made lifelong friendships as well. Lastly, the opportunity to see my sons experience Punahou as students has been a huge blessing for which I will forever be grateful. Mahalo!”
“Teaching a violin student courageously fighting cerebral palsy. Unsure where to begin teaching such a student, I clung to the Suzuki method idea, ‘where love is deep, much can be accomplished’ and agreed to try. Playing a Bach minuet for a tearful mom at final lesson … magic.”
“Working as an AV at Punahou School is great! Every time I’m setting up for all kinds of events it’s a different level of my life. Meeting and working with talented students, professional singers, dancers and all the loving faculty and staff. It gives me excitement and happiness.”
“I am honored to work with talented and compassionate staff. Piloting summer school travel classes Broadway Bound & Hollywood Bound and beginning performance-based Musical Theatre class in sixth Grade have been some of the highlights of my time at Punahou.”
“My interaction with my students; being able to work with them and get to know them often starting from Junior School all the way through Academy then graduation. Many still keep in touch. My students have enriched my life and continue to do so to this day!”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou was working with an exceptional IT team and connecting with a diverse group of individuals across campus. The ever-evolving technology has a profound impact on our esteemed students, faculty and staff, making it a remarkable experience for me.”
“I am grateful to work with wonderful students and exceptionally dedicated and talented colleagues. It is an honor to share the love of music and to see the impact it has in the lives of our students. Music connects us as a community and I am so blessed to be a part of Punahou.”
“My highlight: All the times when the students and I erupted in laughter together and all the times when students shared insightful ideas that gave the whole class an “Aha” moment and I, myself, learned something new.”
“Working as a Security Guard prior to transferring to the Operations Department, I got to work around the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood. Being around our youngest students was the most enjoyable time so far as a Punahou employee.”
“I have wonderful memories teaching students who have succeeded in following their dreams and meeting families who are committed to their child’s education. A highlight close to my heart is working with amazing colleagues who have become my dear friends.”
“Working with my talented colleagues to develop curricular opportunities for students to learn the skills of social entrepreneurship and to help children to develop an understanding that they have the skills and the privilege to make the lives of others in our community better.”
“There are so many … working with my mother, Paula Hodges, and my sister, Alison Lazarra. But even more, is working with the many middle schoolers over the years. Helping young people find their way while sharing my love of civics and politics.”
“I love the people I work beside. I love the variety. Every day is different. I get the opportunity to interact with different people. I love being part of something larger that makes a difference. I love that everyone cares and you have the flexibility when needed.”
“Punahou has allowed me to be surrounded by people who inspire others in positive ways. We work collaboratively to look for ways to do things better. When one leads with what’s possible, and still promotes value for people, it’s energizing.”
“The people have been the highlight of my time at Punahou. From my middle school colleagues to all the other teachers, administrators and support staff, it has been wonderful working with so many great people.”
“Being able to work here while my children attended school here. We’re a close family and that opportunity brought us even closer together.”
“It is rare that you get the opportunity to give something back to someplace that has given you so much.”
“Collaborating with colleagues to provide Punahou students with unique and new learning experiences, including designing the Junior School yearbook, assisting to start the First Robotics program, introducing laser-cut design and fabrication and digital art to middle school students.”
“To see former Punahou students engage in community building and public service to benefit others is the greatest legacy of our school, and I am privileged to have played a small part in that effort.”
“I witnessed technology transforming education from one classroom with 25 Toshiba laptops to 1-to-1 program for all students with Macbooks and iPads. It’s rewarding to see my daughter in this program since kindergarten to her junior year, and how tech plays a vital role in the classroom.”
“Going through life together with talented students and colleagues.”
“The most rewarding aspect of my job has undoubtedly been the opportunity to work with the vibrant and inspiring young minds that fill our classrooms. Every time I walk onto the campus, I am reminded of my love and appreciation for this exceptional community.”
“The enduring theme of my time at Punahou is gratitude. The support and, yes, love, which has been (and still is) shared with each of my fellow educators and students in our beloved Punahou Music School is a precious gift.”
“I like my job and I like knowing that I provide nourishment to the students. I love cooking and to provide this service for students.”
“The school is beautiful, the faculty, staff and children are very nice, and it makes you feel wonderful when they bring you flowers and wave at you and say, Hi Aunty! All three of my girls graduated from Punahou, I am very proud of that! I hope one day my grandchildren will be able to attend and graduate from Punahou.”
“Working with great mentors and colleagues during my years in the Training Room and Physical Education department have made my life at Punahou special. I have made life-long friends who have blessed me with sincere fellowship, heartfelt support, and healthy doses of laughter.”
“It is truly a gift to support our young students in their learning. Along with that, many lasting friendships, with both the children and their families, are wonderful blessings!”
“The friendships I have made at Punahou have brought me great joy and purpose. However, the highlight for me was growing up on Punahou campus. Punahou will always be “My backyard”. I see Punahou School more as my home than my place of employment. “Campus Kids Rule!””
“I view my teaching position at Punahou to be a unique one because I can plant the seeds of an orchestral experience into the hearts of young students and am able to be involved with the growth, development, and progress until graduation and even beyond.”