SEEQS' Governing Board
The SEEQS Board is a committed and experienced group of educators, professionals, community members, and parents who bring a range of skills and knowledge to meet the diverse needs of charter school governance.
Buffy Cushman-Patz – School Leader, Governing Board Member
Buffy Cushman-Patz has explored teaching and learning through the lenses of theory, policy, leadership, and--most importantly--through her first-hand experiences as a teacher in both conventional and unconventional settings. Buffy completed her EdM in School Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in May 2012 , with School Development as her concentration. She earned her principal's license while serving as a member of the leadership team of Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 2010-2011 Buffy was honored with an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship; she served her fellowship year at the National Science Foundation’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. She has taught math and science in public, charter, and independent schools in Hawai'i, including five years as a middle school math and high school science teacher at La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls. Buffy earned an M.S. in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and a B.S. in Geology from the University of Florida. She volunteered with Teachers Without Borders in 2008 and 2010, leading math and science workshops for teachers in South Africa. Buffy has served on the Hawai'i Public Radio Board of Directors since 2009.
Carole Ota – Governing Board Chair
Carole Ota brings to the board the knowledge, experience, and commitment of over 35 years as an educator in the State of Hawai'i. Her career began at Maryknoll School in Honolulu, Hawai'i, where she taught middle school math. She then served as Maryknoll’s Vice Principal for 17 years, which included assisting the principal in hiring of new faculty, co-designing and facilitating new faculty orientation, introducing weekly common preparation periods for teacher collaboration time, and initiating, designing, and facilitating faculty professional development. She currently teaches middle and high school math at La Pietra - Hawaii School for Girls. Carole has a B.Ed in Secondary Mathematics from the University of Hawai'i.
Don Najita – Governing Board Vice-Chair
Don Najita is an award winning designer, with accolades including the John K. Branner Traveling Fellowship, the Eisner Prize in Environmental Design – Architecture, the Peerless Lighting Corporation Prize in Architecture, and the Norman W. Patterson Prize in Architecture. He received a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley, College of Environmental Design; he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design at Oberlin College. Don’s design projects have ranged in scale from regional/urban planning, institutional and commercial projects, to residential work and furniture design. His approach is rooted in addressing the circumstances and unique context and demands of each project. The focus of his work is on ecological thinking and design, and the application of green and sustainable practices to building and the making of things. Don was born and raised in Hawai'i and is the parent of two young children.
Rachel Orange – Governing Board Secretary
Rachel Orange is a lifelong resident of Hawai'i, with a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She has been the Data Department Manager for the Hawai'i Undersea Research Laboratory at University of Hawai'i at Manoa since 2002. Rachel has volunteered on the Palolo Neighborhood board since 2004, is active with the local Democratic Party and the Progressive Democrats of Hawai'i, as well as various other community groups. She is a coach and paddler for the Waikiki Beach Boys Canoe Club.
Jason D'Olier – Governing Board Treasurer
Jason D’Olier is currently Vice President and Market Risk Manager at Bank of Hawaii. Jason was born and raised in Hawaii and brings a love for the state and a unique blend of finance and education background to our board. A graduate of Punahou School and Pomona College, Jason taught high school math at Mid-Pacific Institute for three years, where he also coached soccer and kayaking, founded and advised the Open Mic club, and was president of the Mid-Pacific Teacher’s Association. He was also a high school teacher at Punahou School and an elementary special education teacher in the Benicia Unified School District, in Northern California. He left his teaching job to obtain an MBA from Georgetown University, which he graduated from in 2008 as class valedictorian. Jason spent four years working for Citibank in New York City, where he worked in finance, risk, and international banking across the Retail Bank, Commercial Bank, the Retail Credit Card, and Corporate Credit Card businesses. Jason returned to Hawaiʻi in 2012 with his wife and two daughters.
Andrew Bates – Governing Board member
Andrew Bates is President of All Hazards Consulting, an Emergency Management consulting service. He teaches a graduate certificate course of study at Hawaii Pacific University in International and Domestic Emergency Management. Between 2003 and 2005, Andrew was the Program Manager for the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (COE) at the US Pacific Command in Hawai'i. He recently completed a five-year, thirty-six event international pandemic preparedness project with the US Pacific Command. Andrew received a B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University, graduated from Golden Gate University with a Masters in Public Administration (Health Services), and completed the University of California at Berkeley program in Emergency Preparedness Planning and Management with Distinction. He is a graduate of the Naval War College, a Fellow in the American College of Contingency Planners and is credentialed by the American Academy of Medical Administrators.
Lyla Berg – Governing Board member
Lyla Berg served as State Representative in the Hawai'i Legislature for three terms, vice-chairing the house education committee. Lyla is the founder and CEO of Kids Voting Hawai'i and was the State Coordinator for Hawai'i’s “We, The People” programs. Lyla has taught and served an administrator at both the high school and community college level, among many other accomplishments. Lyla is a graduate of the Women’s Leadership Institute at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has a Ph.D. in Education from The Union Institute in Ohio, a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, and a Masters in Educational Administration and Supervision from the American University in Washington, D.C. She earned her B.A. in German and English from Georgetown University.
Mark Hines – Governing Board member
Mark Hines holds a B.S. in Physics, a Masters in Educational Technology, and is an Educational Technology doctoral student at the University of Hawai'i. He has taught Science, Math and Technology for 30 years and coached high school canoe paddling for 20 years. His interests center around teaching, learning, and the future of education. He consults and presents locally and nationally on issues of technology in education and school transformation. He is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math & Science Teaching, a National Tandy Technology Scholar, and was a Pacific Technology Foundation Technology Educator of the Year. He serves as a member of the Schools of the Future initiative for the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. In his 15 years as Technology Director at Mid-Pacific Institute, Mark oversaw the planning, development, and implementation of technology for teachers, staff and students. He currently directs the Mid-Pacific eXploratory program, a student-centered, interdisciplinary, passion/project-centered model 9th/10th grade program at Mid-Pacific Institute.
Donald Ingram – Governing Board member
Don Ingram has lived in Honolulu for nearly 28 years. He holds a degree from Stanford University (‘70) in History, specializing in 20th Century Diplomatic History. He worked for more than 22 years in the business world for Ingram Paper, a family owned paper distribution company. From 1980 to 1985 he was the Corporate Operations Officer, headquartered out of the Los Angeles home office, and from 1985 to 1994 he worked as General Manager of the Hawai'i Division, while still involved in corporate operations issues. During his time with Ingram Paper, he helped design two large warehouse and office facilities. Upon leaving the corporate world, Don moved from left brain to right brain interests, graduating from New Mexico Academy for Healing Arts as a Massage Therapist, licensed in both New Mexico and Hawai'i. He specializes in Chi Nei Tsang, a Tibetan Taoist Abdominal form of Massage. Don is married to a lifelong English teacher and shares her passion for superior, cutting edge education.
Irene Kelly – Governing Board Member
Irene Kelly is a conservation biologist dedicated to the recovery of protected marine species. Since 2001, Irene has been working in sea turtle conservation and management. She has assisted in building grassroots, community-based programs in Hawaii and internationally to address anthropogenic and environmental threats to protected marine species. Irene currently works at the Pacific Islands Regional Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries. Her experience in science and management, including grant writing and execution, and her dedication to the preservation and sustainability of marine resources will be an asset to SEEQS board, as will her perspective and expertise as a parent. She has two daughters who attend Waialae Public Charter School. Her desire is that her daughters receive an education that promotes exploration and discovery of the world while nurturing creativity and their individuality.
Raleigh Werberger – Governing Board member
Raleigh Werberger currently serves as the IB/AP Director at the Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu. He initiated the creation of a Pre-IB curriculum in 9th and 10th grades and led professional development efforts to help teachers instill the Learner Profile in their classrooms to prepare all students for the IB Diploma Programme. Raleigh is a lead team member of MPI’s Schools of the Future project. He also co-created, with Mark Hines, an intensive week-long course in project-based learning with technology for Island teachers. He is currently teaching in the Mid-Pacific Exploratory program, which incorporates the 4 core academic courses plus the arts and technology in an interdisciplinary project-based curriculum, and which he created along with Mark. Raleigh previously taught at the American School Foundation in Mexico City, at San Francisco University High School, the American Overseas School of Rome and the Pilgrim High School in California. Raleigh earned an M.A. in American History from Miami of Ohio, a B.A. in History from Pomona College, and is ABD at University of California, Irvine.
Charles (Chuck) Giuli – Education Evaluation Advisor to the Governing Board
Charles Giuli retired in 2012 from his role as the director of evaluation for the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL), where he managed evaluation contracts in Hawai‘i and the Pacific region. He received his doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Hawai‘i. Before joining PREL, Chuck worked at Kamehameha Schools with the Training and Dissemination unit for the Kamehameha Elementary Education Program (KEEP) and then in the Schools' evaluation unit. Chuck’s professional experience includes instruction, classroom management, planning, project management, fiscal management, budgeting, needs assessment, program monitoring, testing, measurement, questionnaire design, and research design.
Liam Skilling – Legal Advisor to the Governing Board
Liam Skilling is the Director of the Evening Part-Time Juris Doctor Program, the Director of Academic Assistance, and a Lecturer-in-Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Liam’s primary areas of interest are education law and policy, charter school law, child welfare, law school pedagogy, and curriculum reform. In 2008, he received the Dean’s Medal for Outstanding Service to the Law School. Before law school, Liam spent several years working in K-12 education. As a corps member in Teach For America, he taught in East Palo Alto, CA. As a law student, he co-created a program designed to increase the enrollment of Native Hawaiian and other under-represented groups at the Law School by providing LSAT preparation classes. Liam earned his JD, magna cum laude, at the William S. Richardson School of Law, and his BA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Originally from New York City, Liam now lives in Mānoa with his wife and two daughters.
Sterling Yee – Financial Advisor to the Governing Board
Sterling Yee is the Chief Operating Officer at La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls, and served for years prior to this on their Board of Trustees. From 1998 to 2012, Sterling worked as an Information Technology Specialist and Auditor. He served for nine years as senior manager in charge of management consulting at Grant Thorton. He then worked as Director of Information Technology at Ernst and Young in Honolulu, Auditor for Hawaiian Electric Industries, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance officer for Resources Global Professionals, and as an Assistant Auditor for the State of Hawaii. Sterling has also served as strategic business development consultant for SynCADD (on contract to the U.S. Army). Sterling recently worked at the State of Hawai’i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Sterling has a BS in Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Denver, and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance and Economics from the University of Denver. He was recently appointed to the State of Hawaii, Information Technology Steering Committee by the current state legislature.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our founding Interim Governing Board members,
including Josh Reppun, Deborah Faber, and Sterling Yee, for their service.
including Josh Reppun, Deborah Faber, and Sterling Yee, for their service.