Where are you from/ what brought you to Hawaii?
I grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and later moved to the Netherlands. While living in Netherlands and attending college I met my husband who was stationed there. After graduating, getting married, and moving to Hawaii, I then became a stay at home mom for many years until my youngest child, Nathaniel, was 6 years old. Meanwhile, I was heavily involved in my own childrens’ education and school by doing volunteer work.
The Lord has blessed me with living in Ethiopia, the Netherlands, and now in Hawaii. My life experience allowed me to travel to different countries and meet many different people and experience their culture. I love how He opened up the door for me to share those experiences atHanalani.
What first got you started in your career?
I came from a family of independent business holders and entrepreneurs. My father believed in good, quality education and invested in my education. I have always been passionate about education. While serving in my church’s childrens’ ministry and my own childrens’ school, the Lord called me to teach and I developed a great passion in serving and investing in the lives of the next generation. I believe students need all the skills necessary to be effective learners in a world in which information is often presented online. I love empowering students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information.
What is something on campus that brings a smile to your face each day?
I absolutely love the big hugs and the giggles of little ones! Also, once in a while, during chapel I can hear the echo of both upper and lower school students singing worship to the Lord.
What are three words that people would use to describe you?
Friendly, creative, and determined.
What is your best personal achievement?
Leading my children to Christ! The title I am most honored to hold is “Mom.” My favorite part about being a mom is being able to share my faith with my keiki and knowing that they have a spot right next to me in Heaven. Matthew 16:26
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite part of being a librarian in a Christian school is knowing that I am in the service of the Lord and being able to teach and encourage the students that He has specifically placed at Hanalani each year. Being a librarian is the best! No two days are the same. I love interacting with students, staff and faculty; especially connecting them to a book that they enjoy. But even beyond the selection of books, I love encouraging students and staff to think of the library as a space they can go to for help, information, or just a friendly conversation in the middle of a busy day. The library is a resource at the center of our campus, or as I like to call it: “the heart of our campus!” I also love the Ohana atmosphere created here at Hanalani where parents and faculty work together with the common goal of preparing the children to impact the world for Christ.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What is your favorite part about interacting with students?
My favorite part is developing relationships, building connections, and listening to the students' needs to encourage them in anyway that I can as their teacher-librarian. Seeing the students learn, seeing them “get it,” and seeing them learn something they did not know before; those moments are what makes it all worthwhile.
Name a challenge you have overcome:
Learning a new language is definitely a big challenge I have overcome. Since I had lived in Ethiopia and the Netherlands, moving to America was a big language and culture change.
Fun fact about yourself:
Something my kids find awesome about me is that I come from a family of 11! 2 parents, 7 girls, and 2 boys. Growing up in a big family has taught me so many lessons, and I couldn’t ask for a better family.
Best piece of advice you can give:
Never underestimate the power of learning from and growing with people incredibly different than you. You will be astonished to hear their stories and to learn the lessons life has taught them, to see the world through the lens of another human being. Expand your social circle. Spend time with different types of people. Be open, kind, honest, and thirsty for knowledge.