DOE Honors Employees’ Superior Service

A former Central Oahu educator as well as Kaala Elementary School’s food service team were recognized for outstanding service to the community Sept. 20 by the state Department of Education.

Donna Therrien, a former district support teacher, was recognized for providing educator effectiveness training for teachers in all 16 schools in the Castle-Kahuku complex. Her professional development sessions covered all key components of the teacher observation protocol and helped participants implement strategies to boost student achievement. Therrien also assisted in the DOE’s transition to the Common Core State Standards while rewriting the English language arts Common Core shifts with detailed instructional strategies to help educators.

The six-member Kaala food services team took the DOE’s Team of the Year award for shaping positive student behavior and serving nutritious meals, stated the DOE. Each day the team provides meals to approximately 450 students, 75 staff members, and children enrolled in the Head Start Program.

“The dedication and professionalism of these exemplary employees inspire all of us to always strive high to do our very best for Hawaii’s students and their families,” said schools superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi of the awardees. “They have played critical roles in our ongoing transformation aimed at ensuring all students are equipped to succeed in college and careers.”

Like Therrien, the food service team members Arleen Asato, Derna Duarte, Pearla Kesolei, Kaiulani Kinoshita, Susie Lee and Georgette Ralar are involved in numerous activities at the school. The group took part in more than 38 community events, including an evening Read Aloud Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Nutritious meals are critical to meet students’ basic needs. About 85 percent of Kaala students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

(Therrien also won the Governor’s Award this month for 2013 State Employee of the Year. The annual distinguished service presentation honors the best employees statewide.)