I’ve been a student at HTA since 5th grade, and I can honestly say that HTA has made a difference in my life. During my junior year Advisory, we had these projects called “Genius Hour” projects. The point of the Genius Hour projects was to encourage students to explore their passion and interests, so for my project I decided to learn how to make a beat. When I first started, I had no idea what to do. I didn’t know where to start. However I researched and watched videos and taught myself how to make a song. I didn’t even know how to make a basic chord at the time!
When I think of character, I think about how a person might handle certain difficult situations or how a person reacts to challenges. HTA has helped me build character by teaching me more about responsibility and perseverance through projects like the Genius Hour project. Since HTA has a lot of flexibility built in, it could be easy fall behind but it is also easy to catch up again because our teachers are committed and really want to teach students rather than just going through the motions. I can tell they care deeply for their student and hope to make an impact on their lives.
A lot of the things that my teachers have taught me can be applied to real life. Mr. Glasser and Mr. Carvalho have really taught me that we won’t always get second chances, so I need to do my very best on the first try. Another one of my teachers Mr. Weida taught me the importance of time management and understanding what is really important in life.
My parents are so happy that I am an HTA student. I know they have peace of mind because they know I am growing academically and growing personally, too. After graduating from HTA, I envision myself going to college for music producing. I am a little scared going into this new part of my life but I do feel confident because I know that HTA has done a good job preparing me for college and independence.
Tell the HTA Ohana a little bit about yourself, Kristie: My husband and I have known each other since 9th grade, and have been married for 14 years. I have two boys, Zandyr (11) and Ayden (9), a dog named Duke and a cat named Gizmo. We have lived on Maui for 10 years, and are eagerly awaiting the completion of our brand new home which should be done in June. We love playing at the beach, in the water, running, hiking, and adventuring together.
Can you share a bit about your academic background? I started college as a pre-med student when I was a high school junior. I completed my associate's degree in general sciences with a focus in pre-med right after I graduated from High School, I was accepted to the University of Washington School of Medicine. I wasn’t excited, and I decided to change my mind and attended Pacific Lutheran University for Political Science. I ended up majoring in Secondary Education, with minors in History, English, and Visual Arts. I went straight into a Master of Education program at the University of Washington. I continued on with schooling, completing my Educational Specialist Degree in the area of Teacher Leadership from Walden University.
What made you interested in teaching? To be honest, I decided to become a teacher because I hated high school. I was just another face in the crowd and was constantly dismissed because I came from a single parent family. Granted I was a bit of a punk kid and tried my best to stand out, but regardless of my grades or brightly dyed hair, I was still invisible. I made the decision to start teaching because I wanted to make sure that young people knew they were valued and could honestly make a difference, regardless of their background, their family, or where they came from.
What is your first memory associated with teaching? I was a very ambitious new teacher, spending hours upon hours in the classroom. One of my first memories was spending the entire weekend decorating my classroom as an ‘Indian’ Marketplace. The outside door to the classroom was decorated like the Taj Mahal and students entered a large butcher paper archway into the classroom, where they were greeted with extravagant pillows, Indian decor, souvenirs, pictures of famous people, and a station to read about The Untouchables. I was so excited Monday morning for my 9th-grade students to come and ‘experience’ India. However, they hated it! As soon as they saw my room they started grumbling - I had other students shutting down. I realized that day that it didn’t matter how excited I was about something. I needed the students to be excited and to ‘own’ their learning experiences. It was a heartbreaking, but rewarding experience.
What do you find most challenging and rewarding about being a teacher? I care about my students - every single one of them. I work really hard to build relationships with them the first couple weeks of school, and I have found that this is rewarding and also challenging. I know that through relationships and trust I can get students to dig deeper into content, take risks with their learning, and make mistakes. It also helps me to be my sarcastic self with them because they know that I only pick on them because I care. Some relationships are forged more quickly than others; however, at the end seeing my students reach their goals, graduate, or attain other accomplishments along the way makes the stressful moments worth it.
Hobby? Lifting Heavy Things
Song? This is Halloween
Book? Classic Tales of Horror
Travel Destination? Maui :)
Quote? If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.
If you were to summarize “YOU” in only one sentence, what would that sentence be? I thrive in chaos.
Teachers, administrators, parents and students are all contributing authors