About Us



Parents for Public Schools Hawaii (“PPS-HI”) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of parents, educators, community leaders, policy makers, and other stakeholders in Hawai`i public education.  PPS-HI is a member of the national organization, Parents for Public Schools Inc., which has established 17 chapters in 12 states.


We work collaboratively to improve and support public education in Hawai`i by increasing family and community engagement through programs, events, and other activities.  We also work with key decision makers to advocate for policies that increase educational opportunities for parents, families, and children.


The mission of PPS Hawai`i is to engage parents, students and community members across the State in supporting enriched and quality public education through
(1) effective communication between families, community, and schools,
(2) greater awareness of educational policies and practices,
(3) community involvement in education and decision making that promotes school support, improvement, and student achievement, and
(4) accurate media representation of public education.


Parents for Public Schools—Hawai`i (“PPSHI”) emerged from struggles in our public education system.
The genesis of PPS Hawaii dates to the fall of 2009, when public schools closed for 17 “Furlough Fridays” in an attempt to cover a state budget shortfall. SOS Hawai’i –  a grassroots group of community
members, students and parents – was created in opposition to then-Governor Linda Lingle’s decision to cut public education funding.

We realized that family voices had been left out of the conversation about public education.
Since then, many SOS members joined with other concerned citizens in order to form our Hawaii chapter of the national organization, Parents for Public Schools Inc., and we remain equally passionate about improving the quality of Hawaii’s public schools.

We work in partnership with other organizations that value public education, such as:
Parents for Public Schools – National – http://parents4publicschools.org
Hawa‘i Childrens Action Network – https://www.hawaii-can.org
Hui for Excellence in Education (HE`E) – http://www.heecoalition.org
Broadband Hui – https://www.broadbandhui.org
Hawai‘i Afterschool Alliance – https://www.hawaiiafterschoolalliance.org


JOIN US: Show your support for public schools by becoming a member today, and join a statewide movement to improve public education for the children of Hawai`i!
As a member, PPS-HI will equip you with skills and resources necessary to:

  • Increase community involvement and collaboration with decision-makers at all levels of government;
  • Monitor and present testimony on current education legislation and policies;
  • Promote accurate and positive media representation of public education; and
  • Support a public education system that values diversity and critical thinking.Sign up Online


Wendy Nakasone-Kalani, President
Wendy Nakasone-Kalani has been active in the field of education for more than 20 years, beginning as a part-time teacher at Olomana School on the windward side of Oahu. She graduated from the University of Hawai’i – Hilo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and taught in both Hawai’i public school system as well as a non-profit agency which provides service to at-risk youths. Wendy has teaching and counseling experience with student of all grade levels. In 2009, she began her federal career as an Army School Liaison Officer and has worked with more than 50 Hawai’i public schools to assist Army Families transitioning to Hawai’i. As part of her professional services, she has worked closely with Joint Venture Education Forum (JVEF), an organization that brings together members of the Hawai’i Department of Education (DOE) and the military services in Hawai’i. She also serves on the Interstate Compact on Education Opportunity for Military Children Hawaii State Council. She has been actively involved in School Partnership Program and received the JVEF Outstanding Military Contributor Award in 2013.

photo Susan Wood, Vice President
Susan Wood resides on the Island of Hawai’i and works for the Hilopa’a Family to Family Health Information Center and the Maternal and Child Health, Leadership and Education of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities for the University of Hawai’i, John A. Burn’s School of Medicine. She also serves as the Parent & Community Networking Coordinator for Honoka’a High & Intermediate School. Her experiences include family outreach & education, vocational training, benefits planning and youth mental health. She is the Family Voices Region D Facilitator and also sits on the board for Parents for Public Schools, the Special Education Advisory Council, the North Hawai’i Community Children’s Council and the HHIS School Community Council.

Kay Fukuda, Treasurer
Kay is a graduate of Waipahu High School. Her son, Paul, is a public school graduate; and her two granddaughters attended public schools. Kay is employed by the University of Hawai’i. She directs two place-based learning programs on the Wai’anae Coast. Kay is wholeheartedly committed to place-base teaching and leading, which she believes provides deeply intentional connections and real challenges and learning for both students and teachers. She believes that connections with place highlight the necessary interdependence of school and community and allows the best of each to emerge.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-41-58-amLois Yamauchi, Past President
Lois Yamauchi is a graduate of Kalani High School and received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Hawai’i. As a parent of two children in public schools in Honolulu, she is passionate about public education and was a founding member of PPS Hawai’i. Lois is a professor of education in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Hawai’i and specializes in cultural influences on learning and instruction.


Deborah Bond-Upson, Board Member
An education innovator, Deborah believes we can and must use technology, authentic assessment, and re-imagining learning to achieve equitable, relevant, engaging learning for all. Community involvement is critical for healthy schools. Education can be individualized to respect each student’s unique gifts and interests. Deborah has served on foundation boards and supported public education throughout her career. Her four adult children are all public school graduates. Serving in leadership and founding several education companies over the past few decades,  Deborah now leads LearningBond, a consultancy serving education organizations such as NBC Learn, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Channel One, ACT Aspire, Awesome Stories and Ceeds for Peace. Deborah has a B.A. from Swarthmore College, a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry, and is an ordained Unitarian Minister.

Kash_headshotKashmira Reid, Board Member
Kashmira Reid has 20 years of experience in marketing and project management for the engineering and construction industry. She is a graduate of McKinley High School, and holds a B.S. Foreign Service International Politics from Georgetown University. As a first generation immigrant to Hawaii, and mother of a daughter with a chronic medical condition and son with a learning difference, she understands first hand both the importance of education as a soceo-economic driver and the challenges faced by many of Hawaii’s students and families outside the mainstream. Kash is an alumna and member of the Washington Middle School SCC and a strong proponent and volunteer of Hawaii’s Children and Youth Month/Day, honoring Hawaii’s keiki. Due to her work in the transportation field and being the 2nd of 3 generations that have been hit by a car while walking in a cross walk, she believes strongly in the National and State Safe Routes to School program.

Kathleen Tran GauciKathleen Gauci, Board Member
Kathleen Gauci is the data center manager and a project manager at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa Center on the Family, where she engages in work that promotes the wellbeing of children and families. She also has been a lecturer for over ten years at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and West Oʻahu, and enjoys teaching courses in education, psychology, and social sciences. Kathleen is a product of public schools; she attended public schools in California, obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and moved to Hawaiʻi where she received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Hawaiʻi. Kathleen has two young children: a daughter attending a Hawaiʻi public school and a son who will join his sister when he reaches kindergarten age.

Past Board Pictures – 2021

Past Board Pictures – 2020

Past Board Pictures – 2019

Past Board Pictures – 2016

Board Members at the Annual Meeting