Tracie Murao, Associate Director of College and Academic Services

Meet Tracie Murao, Upper School Academic Counselor
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Hawaii, but I left the islands after college to work/live abroad and on the mainland. In all, I lived away from Hawaii for about 17 years, and I returned home 7 years ago. 

Where was your first position in education?
My first teaching job after college was teaching English as a Foreign Language in Japan. I lived right outside of Tokyo and had a great adventure teaching there for 2 years. 

What is your background in teaching?
My BA is from the University of Hawaii where I majored in English. I also have a MA in English Education from Columbia University. I have primarily been an English teacher and have taught in diverse school settings from an inner city public school in the South Bronx to a large suburban school in a wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C. In 2015, the Lord led me to Hanalani Schools and this year, the Lord has led me to this counseling position. 

What are you most looking forward to/excited for? 
College is such an exciting time. I absolutely loved my college and graduate school years. I am looking forward to helping students explore their options for the future and discover the "right fit" for college with God's leading. 

What three workd do people often use to describe you?
Caring, thoughtful, and earnest.

What is your best personal achievement? 
I think about the various awards and accolades that I have received over the years, and all of that is overshadowed by the sense of achievement I get from the responsibility, hard work and privilege of being a mom! Raising/discipling my 3 children in a way that strives to honor the Lord is probably my best personal achievement. 

What was the biggest motivation you had in taking this position?
Figuring out what to do after high school and what college to attend is such an exciting yet stressful time for students. There are so many decisions to make and where someone attends college impacts the trajectory of his/her life. I know how stressful this process can be, and I want to come alongside my students as an advocate in this process. 

What is your favorite thing about your career/education?
I love that I get to work with young people every day. I enjoy getting to know students and sharing things about myself, too. I realize that it sounds cliche, but I do feel like in education, you have this incredible chance to touch and impact the future. It's such a privilege and a blessing! 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher and one of my favorite gifts I received from Santa was a chalk board. I had it up in my bedroom and would "teach" my stuffed animals. 

What are some goals you have for this school year?
I want to learn all I can about the college process. This is a new role/positions for me, and there's so much to learn! I want to do my best to serve the students and families in a God-honoring way. 

What is your favorite thing about working with students? 
I enjoy getting to know my students and watching them grow and develop through the years. To think that I can have an impact on my student's growth and be a positive influence in their lives is amazing. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. 

Name a challenge you have overcome. 
There was an especially challenging time in my life when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and on the day that he went in for his pre-op appointment at the hospital, my mom fell and broke her femur. I had to jump in to help my parents while still tending to my own young children. It was a scary and stressful time for my family, but it drew me ever closer to the Lord. We made it through this time by His grace! 

Fun fact about yourself:
I met my husband while I was on the airplane going to Japan. We were sitting across the aisle from each other.

Best piece of advice you could give:
Trust in the Lord! Proverbs 3:5-6 sums in up: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."