Maui News

15 public school educators selected for Hawai‘i State Teacher Fellows program

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Maui Waena intermediate School teacher Devika Sewpaul was selected for the 2022-24 Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellows.

Devika Sewpaul, a 7th grade social studies teacher at Maui Waena Intermediate School, was one of 15 public school educators selected for the 2022-24 Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellows.

The Hawai‘i State Department of Education’s Leadership Institute selected the cohort from 10 complex areas and the public charter schools system through a rigorous application process. This year’s fellows were recognized for their collaborative, innovative and solutions-oriented leadership.

The fellowship will provide opportunities for peer and community engagement, tools to facilitate focus groups, and strategies for communication and public education advocacy.


Sewpaul earned her teaching degree from Queens College in New York City and a master’s degree in Instructional Design from Western Governor’s University. Devika partnered with several museums in New York City to offer her students additional exposure to historical content.

When Devika is not teaching, she likes to research on strategies that can help her students develop academically in the classroom. Her interests and hobbies include reading, painting, watching documentaries and traveling across the world. Devika’s latest challenge is learning the Hawaiian language and local pidgin dialect. Devika’s motivation as an educator is to see her students succeed in and outside the classroom.

The rest of the 2022-24 fellows:

  • Christina Chan, Highlands Intermediate
  • Lucas Dembart, SEEQS: the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability
  • Kim Dempsey, Kealakehe Intermediate
  • Akemi Faria, Kāʻumana Elementary
  • Pinky Grace Francisco, Kaʻū High and Pāhala Elementary
  • Kelli Kaanaana, Holomua Elementary
  • Jessica Kato, Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area
  • Natalie Lalagos, Kealakehe High
  • Janice Lee, Mililani Uka Elementary
  • Cliffordneal Lim, Kalākaua Middle
  • Tanya Mau, Hawai‘i Teacher Induction Center
  • Corey Obungen, James B. Castle High
  • Christine Russo, James Campbell High
  • Heidi Unten, Kailua High

Over the past eight years of the program, teacher fellows have shared their expertise and experience in discussions with department leaders, Board of Education members and legislators, helping to close the gap between practitioner and policy. The fellows have facilitated focus groups with hundreds of educators that helped to inform department decisions around such issues as project-based learning, strategic planning and professional development.

Learn more at


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