Tell the HTA Ohana a little bit about yourself, Brian: I am originally from Pennsylvania. I moved to Hawaii in 2001. I met my amazing wife Monica here on Oahu only to find out later she was also from Pennsylvania, so when people ask “Did you marry a local girl?” I can say, yes, just not Hawaiian Local:) Monica and I started dating 2/2/2 and we got married on 7/7/7. I think she planned this just so I wouldn’t forget the dates! We have 3 incredible daughters: Brooke is in 4th grade, Makenzie is in 2nd grade, and Allison is in preschool. I love teaching and living in Hawaii. Perhaps when I get tan I might think about living somewhere else:)
Can you share a bit about your academic background? I earned my Bachelor’s degree from East Stroudsburg University in PA and my Masters degree from the University of Hawaii.
What made you interested in teaching? I am from a huge family. My Mom is the oldest of 10 children, and I am the oldest Grandchild, so growing up I had a ridiculous amount of cousins. When I started college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. After my first semester at school, my Aunt Eileen said to me “You really have fun with all your cousins, why don’t you take some teaching classes. The rest is history!
What is your first memory associated with teaching? My first year teaching in Hawaii, I taught 4th grade. That is the year students are taught Hawaiian studies along with their other subjects, but I couldn’t even say the name of the street I lived on! How was I supposed to teach Hawaiian studies? The first two weeks were rough, and I noticed the teacher next to me, Mrs. Matsumoto, was teaching her kids how to play the ukulele. I felt bad for my kids. I felt like they were getting ripped off, so I came up with an idea. Mrs. Matsumoto was getting ready to retire and was not a huge fan of Physical Education, so I proposed that she teach my kids Hawaiian Studies, and I would teach her kids PE. She loved the idea, and I realized that networking with your peers is awesome!
What do you find most challenging and rewarding about being a teacher? I really enjoy working with students. I appreciate the struggle they go through and you can’t buy the feeling I get when students finally understand something, even shouting out “I GET IT!” The biggest challenge is the students who say “I don’t get it,” but never harass me until they understand it.
Hobby? I do a lot of mental whittling.
Song? Major Lazer- Light It Up (favorite right now)
Book? Words scare me, but I just got Blue Ocean Strategy
Travel Destination? Anywhere I could swim with a whale shark.
Quote? Of all the people I know...you are one of them.
If you were to summarize “YOU” in only one sentence, what would that sentence be? If you are around me, we will be laughing!
Is there anything else you would like the HTA Ohana to know about you? This is my real hair.