SpED Preschool


Aloha. My name is Sanford Kojiro and I am the EOEL Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Keolu Elementary School. I have 30 plus years of teaching in our public school system. I've taught every grade level from junior kindergarten to 6 grade. Often my fellow teachers and principals have asked me what grade level did I prefer teaching and my reply to them would always be the same. I enjoyed teaching all the different grade levels for various reasons.

I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to teach in the Executive Office of Early Learning Pre-Kindergarten program. Our curriculum is an inquiry based, developmentally age appropriate, Project Based Learning (PBL) philosophy. Much of the learning originates from the interests of the children, questions that they have about themselves and the world that they live in. These questions and interest leads them to seek answers and solutions in richer class discussions and our high quality learning centers. I can tell you that there is never a day that I don't come home from work feeling happy when teaching these young enthusiastic learners.

Most of my spare time is devoted to my family. I'm often driving my youngest son (16 yrs. )from one activity or function to another. I also enjoy raising racing pigeons and fishing. Lastly, I enjoy playing and taking care of my English Cocker Spaniel “Molly”. I'll end with this quote from a champion boxer, “You know, I've been lucky in my life. Somebody up there likes me.”




My name is Kiana Kauwe and this is my fourth year teaching first grade at Keolu. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and a Master of Education in elementary education.

This summer has been a mix of relaxation and preparation for the new school year.  I traveled to the outer islands to visit family, surfed the summer swells, and cleared my mind with yoga. 

I’ve been enjoying reading a number of books to refine and deepen my teaching practice.  I’m so excited to implement my new learning around matching instruction to students’ developmental strengths and needs.  I believe social-emotional learning and academic learning are equally important in a child’s development.  My hope is to build a safe, joyful, and challenging learning environment that enables all students to “reach high with pride” for their goals.

1st Grade

2nd Grade

My name is Gracia Grace and this will be my first year of teaching! I am very excited to be a part of this beautiful school in the community that I was born and raised in. I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. In my free time, I love to hike, go to the beach, ride horses, and spend time with friends. As a teacher, I thrive to support my students in all aspects of their lives. I feel that every child, no matter the circumstances, deserves a fun, engaging, and safe classroom to learn and succeed in. I look forward to being your new 2nd grade teacher and cannot wait for the school year to begin!

3rd Grade

My name is Angela West. I was born and raised in New York, but I'm so happy to be living in Hawaii! This will be my second year teaching the third grade at Keolu! When I'm not teaching I love to spend my time singing, dancing, at the beach, exploring outdoors, and with my husband and friends. For as long as I can remember I've had a passion for teaching and working with young children. A consistent goal of mine is to create a classroom that is a safe and caring community for all of my students. I want the community that we create together to help all of my students to learn and grow. I believe that every student has something special to offer to our classroom. In creating a close classroom relationship, we will all be able to learn from one another. It is through my close relationships with my students that I aim help them to achieve their highest potential, gain confidence, and become passionate, lifelong learners. 

4th Grade

Aloha! I am Kai Mead. I am the mother of three awesome young children.  My family loves being active, exploring and playing outdoors and in the ocean- paddling, surfing, diving, hiking, swimming. Our favorite spots are Sandys and Makapuu! I am originally from Big Island, I grew up in Northern California, and have now called O'ahu home for 9 years. I graduated from UH Manoa with my Elementary Education degree and I love being a teacher. My teaching philosophy is based on the concept that students naturally inquire about the world around them. My role as a teacher is to facilitate their inquiries and guide them through the process of discovery. I value opportunities for students to collaborate, demonstrate leadership roles, and gain essential understandings in the classroom and in the world. As a teacher, I strive to be ethical in all matters and m‚Äč‚Äčaintain strict confidentiality. I strive to maintain a positive attitude, model perseverance, and demonstrate understanding and care for others. I want to be mindful of the developmental stages of my students and take appropriate action to guide them in their learning. I believe learning occurs through the integration of all content areas and my teaching emphasizes the importance of place, culture, and background. I believe every student has something amazing to offer to others in our classroom, and I as the teacher must guide each individual student in finding what they can contribute to our growing learning community. 

5th Grade

My name is Josephine Martinez. I'm a proud Texan (born and raised), but I couldn't be happier to call Hawaii home! Like many in my family, I've known that I wanted to become an educator since I was in 4th grade after being inspired by a passionate, humorous, and supportive teacher. After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin in 2015, I was given the opportunity to teach 4th grade at the elementary school I attended. It reminded me of the very reason I decided to get into the profession in the first place - to inspire, humor, and support young minds. 

I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to learn in a safe environment with the knowledge and confidence that their teacher believes in their capacity to learn, grow, and become lifelong learners. When I'm not teaching, I enjoy writing reading, hiking, and playing my bass guitar and ukulele.


Aloha, my name is Sherra Dugan. I moved to Hawaii as an infant and have lived here ever since.I attended public schools in east Honolulu and graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa this spring with degrees in History and Anthropology. I have six years of experience working in education as an afterschool coordinator and para-professional tutor. I love helping students achieve academic success in a fun and enriching learning environment and am excited to join Keolu Elementary School. I enjoy writing, cooking, crafting and traveling.

6th Grade

My name is Tiffany Grinnell and this will be my 10th year teaching. I am originally from Michigan and have been living in Hawaii for 7 years now. I love to surf, hike, golf, play basketball and spend time with my family and friends. I believe that the educational experience must be fun and engaging. School should be a place where my students want to come, not have to come. 

Special Education

My philosophy statement plain and simple is to understand that our children are different and unique in their own way. As a teacher, our mission is to provide a solid foundation in a safe, caring, and positive environment that is also engaging in a way that supports each and every student to reach their highest potential and to eventually be contributing members of our society.  As future generations continue to learn and grow, so do teachers as learning is a lifelong endeavor for us all. 

As for me personally, I am an avid fishermen who is always looking for my next big catch and also enjoy diving for tako. One other thing that rivals my favorite hobby is the love for my grandson who keeps me busy every day and is always excited about learning new things. As a family, we go to U.H. football games to support Hawaii’s Team and take annual trips to Japan to see family and enjoy the sights, shopping, flavors, and all the things that make a trip enjoyable.

Amy West

 I am the English Language Learners (ELL) Coordinator here at Keolu Elementary School. I provide direct instruction and support for students that are learning English as a second language. I believe that ALL students can learn and will make progress when given instruction that meets their learning needs. I plan and implement lessons that give students access to high quality and rigorous learning experiences. I enjoy seeing students grow and become competent, eager learners. 

About me…

I have over 11 years of teaching experience in the areas of early childhood, elementary and middle school. I enjoy hiking, photography, spending time with my family, and playing the ukulele.

English Language Learners (ELL) Coordinator 

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    Contact Us

    Tel: (808) 266-7818



    1416 Keolu Dr.

    Kailua, HI 96734

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