News Archive

Honoring Nurses and School Professionals

May 11, 2023

In honor of National Nurses Week and Teachers Appreciation Week, HGEA would like to mahalo the work of these tireless professionals in our community. Mahalo to our 1,700 public-sector nurses for your commitment and service, and for making a difference in the lives of Hawaii's people at our hospitals, community health centers, long-term care facilities, correctional institutions, schools and community programs. And we extend our thanks to school-level professionals in and out of the classroom for educating, caring for and supporting Hawaii's students.

A few of your fellow HGEA members reflected on the work they do.


Josette "Jojo" Kawana, Oahu
Registered Nurse III, Hawaii State Hospital
Unit 9 Member

HGEA has done an excellent job in protecting me and my family from the volatile nature of the healthcare industry. In my entire career as a public-sector nurse, I have never had to endure the loss of work opportunity because of labor relations issues or cost cutting measures. Unlike many people, I am fortunate to have a career in the field that I chose related to my college education and training. I know my job is secure now and into the future because I am a member of HGEA.

Stacie Aguinaldo, Kauai
Registered Nurse III, Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital
Unit 9 Member

This year has been quite special for me, marking 25 years as a registered nurse, and 15 years employed by the state. My oldest daughter Brandie will be completing her BS in Nursing at UNLV. My youngest daughter Jade will be graduating from Waimea High School and attending UH-Manoa with plans to major in nursing as well. My career as a nurse has allowed me to balance both work and family life as a single parent. I especially enjoy being able to serve the community I grew up in as an ER nurse.

Danette Beams, Oahu
Educational Assistant III, Dept. of Education
Unit 3 Member

As an educator, I help students become creative, develop character, promote wellness of oneself, as well as provide students with the proper skills and tools for them to live productive lives so they can contribute to their community. What really hits home is seeing students blossom and reach their full potential. It's when you see them in the community and they call out for you by name like they did in elementary school, but now as a young adult.

Joshua Bohnet, Oahu
School Security Attendant III, Dept. of Education
Unit 3 Member

My job is safety and security. I completed a bachelor's degree in criminal justice at Utah Valley University so I'm able to better understand the students I work with. Knowing that parents can trust their kids to have a safe learning environment puts the community at ease. The most rewarding part of being a school security attendant is being able to provide a safe and secure environment for students to learn and grow, and eventually see them finish high school.

Ilana Meyer, Maui
Behavioral Technician II, Dept. of Education
Unit 3 Member

My job consists of supporting students with autism. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects communication, sensory processing, social skills and more, but my students can also have incredible memory and knowledge about their specific interests. I can't help but get teary-eyed with every simple task mastered because the smallest simplest thing that may seem easy to us is ten times harder for them. I have so much compassion and love for my students. They always make my day.

Joy Ring-Gadow, Oahu
Educational Assistant III, Dept. of Education
Unit 3 Member

Working in an elementary school, it's rewarding for me to help students grow and be able to accomplish things they don't think they are capable of doing. I also help them to not give up on their dreams. I'm very proud when my former students and parents reach out, especially when the student lets me know I had a lot to do with them graduating and going to college.

  Lei Tata, Oahu
Educational Assistant III, Dept. of Education
Unit 3 Member

I'm especially proud of the program that I work for and helped start in 2010 called the Kupa‘a Academy, which services all schools within the Honolulu District. We specialize in students who are unsuccessful at their home school setting and have additional emotional or behavioral needs. This program is a saving grace for students who would otherwise fall through the cracks of the education system. I've witnessed my students fight through frustration and challenges to find success.



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