Annie Cusick-WoodInterim President, Board of Directors
Annie Cusick-Wood is a Hawaii-based Director and Writer of theatre for children. Born in Scotland, Annie graduated as a drama teacher from Aberdeen College of Education. She has worked as an educator and a director since 1987 and has written and directed plays for children for many companies across the UK including TAG, The Citizens Theatre, M6, Newcastle Playhouse, Leicester Haymarket, Visible Fictions, the macRobert and Catherine Wheels. Annie was the Drama Artist at the macRobert, Stirling, and the Artistic Director of Polka Theatre in London. She was one of the first recipients of a Creative Scotland Award in 2000 from the Scottish Arts Council. Her shows “The Red Balloon”, “Martha” and “The Happy Prince” all played on Broadway at the New Victory Theatre and toured internationally. Her awards include the Victor Award for “The Red Balloon,” and ‘Best Play for Children’ at the Shanghai Children’s Theater festival for “Martha”. In Hawaii, she has directed “The Red Balloon” and “Charlie Brown” for Hearts, and “Stellaluna” for Kids Entertainment (Toronto). Annie wrote and directed “Blue”, “Sort It Out”, “Peter Rabbit and the Garden” and “Auntie Martha and the Nene” for Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY). Visit Annie’s website at: www.anniecusickwood.com
Paula AdamsTreasurer, Board of Directors
Paula Adams, originally from Argentina, has been living in Hawaii since 2003. She is the Executive Director of the Hawaii Afterschool Alliance. Ms. Adams completed her Master’s degree in Psychology. She began her professional career as a psychotherapist in a mental health clinic in New York City and she helped with research at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Before moving to Hawaii she worked at the University of Buenos Aires in research and in education. After arriving to the Aloha State, she began working at the University of Hawaii as the Fun 5 program coordinator, a physical activity and nutrition program for afterschool kids. Working for afterschool programs gave her the opportunity to be selected as the Hawaii Afterschool Ambassador, a program run by the national Afterschool Alliance. Since 2014, as the director of the Hawaii Afterschool Alliance, Paula Adams has been supporting afterschool and summer learning programs for all children in Hawaii. Paula is married and has two teenage children, as well as a cat, a dog, and a lot of plants
Michelle GarciaSecretary, Board of Directors
Michelle Garcia is an entrepreneur with a passion for environmental issues, climate change, and supporting women and children. She was born and raised in the Philippines, spent her adolescence and adulthood in Vancouver, Canada, and currently resides in Kailua, Hawaii. She is the founder and president of Pure & True, a carbon-neutral organic cosmetics company. She co-developed one of the first LEED for Homes projects in the US, the first LEED for Homes project in Hawaii. She is a leader of 350Hawaii, and Chair of the Green Committee of Le Jardin Academy. Michelle is happiest when she is close to nature and playing on the beach with her children. She enjoys heartfelt connection, good food, yoga and meditation.
Staff and Volunteer Services
Lisa TaylorExecutive Director
Lisa Taylor joined Ceeds of Peace as the first Executive Director and full time team-member with Kerrie and Maya. She has a background in project management, in the fields of healthcare, nutrition/dietetics, and children’s programs. Most recently, Lisa was involved in family-circle facilitation, in which extended family members and service providers meet to problem-solve issues surrounding the care of Hawaii’s children and youth. She is most fulfilled by her work that brings peace, harmony, and safety to the family unit. Lisa was born and raised in windward Oahu, attended both public and private Oahu schools, and is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i. She is most proud of her role as a parent, and is continuously in awe of the emotional and academic growth of her daughter. Lisa is honored to be a part of Ceeds of Peace and to assist with bringing peacebuilding knowledge and efforts to parents, teachers, and community members for the betterment of the communities in which we live.
Dr. Maya Soetoro-NgFounder, Peace Educator
Maya Soetoro-Ng, MA PhD, has a rich background in global and multicultural education. Maya currently holds the position of Director of Community Outreach and Global Learning at University of Hawai’i’s Matsunaga Institute for Peace. She has an MA in Secondary Education from New York University, and a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Hawai‘i. Maya has taught and developed curriculum at a progressive public middle school in New York City, and has also taught at the UH Laboratory High School and La Pietra Hawai ‘i School for Girls, where she facilitated classes on world cultures, U.S. history and the constitution; and Peacemakers, a course she designed to teach the power of nonviolence. Maya worked as an Education Specialist at the East West Center, facilitating exchange between teachers in Asia and the United States. More recently, she worked as an Assistant Professor and University Coordinator, at the University of Hawai’i’s Institute for Teacher Education, where she taught multicultural education, peace education, and social studies methods. Maya has also authored a children’s book, “Ladder to the Moon”, that was inspired by her mother and her two daughters.
Dr. Kerrie UrosevichFounder, Peace Educator
Kerrie Urosevich, MA, PhD, is the Early Childhood Action Strategy Coordinator, overseeing a multi-disciplinary early childhood systems building plan, convened through Collaborative Leaders Network. She previously served in both Governor Neal Abercrombie’s and Governor David Ige’s Administrations. Over the last 18 years, Kerrie’s work has been rooted in local and international community mobilization, peace building and violence prevention, including 10 years working with communities and organizations in transition, through her own mediation and facilitation consultancy. She serves as Affiliate Faculty at the Matsunaga Institute for Peace at the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa, teaching peace and conflict resolution courses, and has co-developed Ceeds of Peace workshops focused on supporting children’s social and emotional development. Kerrie serves as volunteer board member to Montessori Community School; EPIC `Ohana Inc.; and MPANZI, a Kenya-based organization. Kerrie received her Ph.D. in Political Science with a specialization in conflict resolution and systems design from the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa; Master’s Degree in International Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies; and Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. She is a parent of three young children, who ground her in all of her work.
James KoshibaAdvisory Committee Member
James Koshiba is a writer, community organizer, and consultant who works to address public problems by blending story, analysis, and community engagement. He currently runs Social Ventures Accelerator, which works with new nonprofit and for-profit ventures to enhance their social impact. In addition, he co-leads Hopeful Homeless which works to devise solutions to homelessness, by homeless people, for homeless people. He is also a Board Member of the Hauoli Mau Loa Foundation which works in partnership with nonprofit organizations to expand hope for those less fortunate, especially children, and enhance stewardship of the natural environment. Prior to this work, James served as the Executive Director of Kanu Hawaii, an environmental sustainability nonprofit. Under his leadership, Kanu Hawaii built a membership of 18,000 individuals spread across every Hawaiian island, 300 U.S. mainland communities, and 12 countries, in less than 5 years.
Dana Marcus, J.D.Advisory Committee Member
Dana is a lawyer and nonprofit generalist, whose approach and perspective are defined by three decades of experience, as a teacher and curriculum author for the NYC Board of Education, director of development for a large charter school, and inaugural executive director of the Frieda C. Fox Foundation. Known nationally for her conference sessions, webinars and publications with the Council on Foundations, Exponent Philanthropy, and the National Center for Family Philanthropy, Dana’s tenure at Fox saw her incubate and implement innovative programs including the S.F. Bay Area Environmental Education Funders Collaborative, Youth Philanthropy Connect, and Education by Nature, and managed $4 million in grants to nonprofits. In semi-retirement, she works on projects that speak to her heart, leveraging their work through cloud-based technology, online marketing, collaboration, and org development. Dana earned her B.A. at Wellesley College and J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Tina NaderAdvisory Committee Member
Tina Nader has pursued her passion as an educator in diverse public, parochial, and private schools for over 30 years, teaching preschool through college students in the US and South Africa, supervising volunteer teachers in Southern California inner city schools and on a Navajo reservation, and directing a diversity recruiting program at Sewanee: University of the South. Upon her family relocating to New York, Tina worked as a corporate salesperson with clients at Wall Street brokerage firms, Fortune 500 companies, and the United Nations headquarters. Over the past fifteen years, Tina has provided consultation for development projects in South Africa, Peru, and Cambodia, and promoted the PBS Village America series, which presented national news through a multicultural perspective. Tina also currently serves on the board of the United Nations Association: Hawaii-Honolulu. Tina and her husband, the Very Rev.Walter Brownridge, have been married over 30 years and have two grown sons, Alexander Thurgood and Martin Desmond.
Dennis RekerAdvisory Committee Member
Having retired as a Director from Intel Corporation after 22 years, Dennis brings the benefit of his experience in Corporate Sales and Marketing, Mergers and Acquisitions, and management of large teams and $12 billion in annual revenue, to advance the missions of social benefit corporations. He is a 13 year veteran mentor at the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI)/ Miller Center of Entrepreneurship, where he helps award-winning social entrepreneurs create and execute strategies and business plans to scale organizations and services, improving the lives of the people at the “bottom of the pyramid.” He has worked with UCSF School of Dentistry since 2010, and recently began work with UCSF Cranio-facial Center at Benioff Children’s Hospital and the UC Berkeley School of Optometry. His focus in board service and advisory roles is on Nonprofit and Education Strategic Planning, Business Development, Board Development & Governance, Management coaching, and Business Plan Development.Clients have included: Practice Makes Perfect; UCSF School of Dentistry; Dramatic Results; Jeremiah’s Promise; California Community Partners for Youth; Joint Venture Silicon Valley & Community Foundation Silicon Valley; Mount San Antonio College & Foundation; Pacific American Foundation; and many more. Dennis is active with his alma mater, University of Louisville, is a decorated U.S. Army veteran, and an avid golfer.
Mark WolfFilm and Media
Mark Wolf has produced over 200 film and media projects, and has won awards at Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin, and other international festivals. He is most proud of films created with a public service cause, and founded “Change The World Productions.” He worked on video for 2008 Barack Obama Campaign, the Smithsonian on the 2013 Inauguration, The US Navy, The Emperor and Empress of Japan, The Red Cross,The University of Hawaii, The University of Southern California, Congressman and Governor Neil Abercrombie. Mark also teaches media production classes at the University of Hawai‘i Outreach College and Hawaii Technology Academy, where he empowers youth to produce public service media to help create solutions to issues in their communities. He is now teaching classes where students collaborate globally and use media and technology to create solutions to common global challenges.
Mai Kapuao`ihilani Mei-Lin Hall, M.Ed.Peace Educator/Facilitator
Mai Kapuao`ihilani Mei-Lin Hall, M.Ed. was born and raised in Kalihi, O`ahu. As a former student assistant teacher, preschool teacher, Department of Education resource and substitute teacher, and mentor teacher, Mai brings a diverse perspective to the field of early learning as an educator for over 10 years. Mai received both her B.Ed. and M.Ed. from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. She remains passionate about early learning as a Native Hawaiian mother raising two young children in Nu’uanu. Her life experiences of childhood trauma, houselessness, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and battling mental illness has fostered resiliency and protective factors in Mai which she uses to advocate for others in similar situations. She also advocates for her children’s special needs in Hawaii’s educational system. Together with a team of service providers, therapists, psychologists, life coaches, and clergy, they are making strides ensuring her children are safe, loved, and fruitful in life. She values service, initiative, learning and wisdom, passion and compassion. Her personal mission statement requires self-love, acceptance, and forgiveness, which forge her path towards peace and a capacity to love others. Aloha aku, aloha mai.
Borjana Lubura-Winchester was born and raised in Sarajevo – Bosnia and Herzegovina. When she was 17, civil war broke in her country. Borjana experienced two harsh years during the war after which she became a refugee for five years in neighboring Serbia. She lost many family members and friends and witnessed the devastating impact that conflict has on people’s lives. Upon return to Sarajevo, Borjana worked at the NATO base as a liaison and interpreter between local contractors and international peace building forces. She experienced first-hand obstacles that communities faced while trying to rebuild peace and live together. Borjana came to Hawaii in 2005, where she earned AA with double Honors from Leeward Community College; BA with Honors in Geography and Geographic Information Systems and MA in Geopolitics with focus on Humanitarian Interventions, both from UH Manoa. Meanwhile, Borjana continued to help build peace in her native Bosnia. In 2011, she began facilitating with the Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution, where she earned a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution. Her facilitation includes seminars for the Department of Defense Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies on security, development, and transnational issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, Borjana is a lecturer at Leeward Community College and UH Manoa, teaching geography and geopolitics. Her three children are a source of energy that fuel her perseverance and compassion to peace building.
Naomi Rombaoa Tanaka, M.S. is a faculty member of the Center on Disability Studies at the College of Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where her work has focused on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports in early intervention. The Co- Principal Investigator/Project Coordinator of the Hawaiʻi Preschool Positive Engagement Project (HPPEP) and Hawaiʻi Preschool First Step to Success, her projects aim to grow the strengths of educators, families, and students. Naomi is passionate about strengthening teams through technical as well as adaptive leadership. She is the author and illustrator of a self-published award winning children’s book, Brighter, Brighter, Brighter!, which was originally created as a peace project assignment in one of Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng’s classes. Naomi holds a BS in Educational Studies/Family and Community Services and an MS in Early Childhood/Special Education from the University of Oregon. She also has a post-masters Interdisciplinary Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies, and is currently working on her PhD in Education, with a focus on Learning Design and Technology. Her area of study is how technology can be used to increase personal happiness, peace, and resilience.
José Barzola, M.Ed., M.B.A.Peace Educator/Facilitator
José Barzola has a passion for creating social change through nonviolence, nurturing relationships that transcend cultural barriers, and focusing on issues of diversity, identity and multiculturalism. He strongly supports the mission of Ceeds of Peace to create a more peaceful, respectful and just humanity through leadership and peacebuilding skills. José has a background in higher education as a student affairs professional for more than a decade and also experience as an adjunct faculty teaching negotiation and mediation, as well as facilitating open dialogues in and out of the classroom. Through his involvement at the Matsunaga institute for Peace, José has been involved in facilitating issues affecting the local community. José holds a BA in Anthropology, Spanish, and Latino Studies and a MEd in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Connecticut. He also holds an MBA with a dual focus on International Business and Marketing from Mercy College and a Certificate in Community Mediation Training from the New York State Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution. José aspires to continue to develop his skills as a peace educator and to strengthen his knowledge on the power of nonviolence.
Katie Ranney, M.A.Peace Educator/Facilitator
Katie Ranney was born and raised on O’ahu. Her interest in conflict resolution and social justice bloomed during her undergraduate studies at Santa Clara University in California. After graduating summa cum laude, she spent one year working at a daytime women’s shelter in Boston as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Katie returned to Hawaii and earned her Masters Degree in Communication and a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution from University of Hawai`i at Manoa. She currently works as a freelance facilitator and communication consultant as well as project assistant for the ACCORD3.0 Network. Katie’s latest projects include a Joint Fact Finding team on Kauai, and note-taking for a few of the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress panels.
Holly PolkResource Teacher
Holly Polk is a Common Core State Standards Resource Teacher for Oahu’s Kaimuki-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex Area. After 25 years in the Hawaii Department of Education, she still finds love and joy in teaching. Holly has 14 years teaching elementary school students, primarily in 6th grade, and 11 years teaching adults as a School Assessment Liaison, Data Coach, and Common Core Resource Teacher. She loves learning and hopes to instill that love of learning to her fellow teachers!
Brad KusunokiResource Counselor
Brad Kusunoki is a School Counselor at Alvah Scott Elementary School in Aiea. As a board member of the Hawaii School Counselor Association, he is working to create more professional development opportunities specifically for School Counselors that count towards their reclassification. Brad has been a University of Hawaii football season ticket holder for many years, and hopes the team will once again return to the glory days, as it was in the 2007 season. He is also a new father to a son!
Esther Hughes Resource Teacher
A Complex Area Teacher for West Hawaii, Esther has over 25 years of experience working with the Hawaii Department of Education. Prior to becoming a teacher, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management-Administration from Colorado State University and worked for United Bank of Fort Collins and Bank of Hawaii. After starting a family of a son and daughter, her priorities shifted to education. While tutoring elementary students in Hilo, Esther attended University of Hawaii for her teacher certification, and later earned a Master of Education from Heritage University. Her first teaching assignment started at Hilo High School in the Business-Education Partnership and working with mainstreamed Special Education students. Esther has held various board positions in the community with the YWCA and Hawaii Learning Resources. She tries her best to combine her academic, business, and life experiences to serving the English Language Learners and their families in the complex area schools. Esther’s husband is a retired banker and is currently in real estate. When not helping her husband and dad run a family macadamia nut farm and a few head of cattle, she enjoys playing tennis with her friends.
Roger HamiltonResource Teacher
With over 20 years service in education, Roger is an English Language Learner (ELL) Resource Teacher in the West Hawaii Complex. He began his career in California as a Kindergarten teacher. In 2006, Roger moved to Kona and worked for seven years at Kealakehe Elementary. He served as a co-teacher in a Special Education Inclusion Team, temporary Vice Principal, and ELL Coordinator while at Kealakehe Elementary. Roger’s wife serves as a Math Coach at Kahakai Elementary, and they have four children together. The two youngest attend Kealakehe High. During the summer months, Roger and his family enjoy traveling. Summer 2106 they visited six national parks on an epic road trip that covered eleven states and 3,800 miles.
Stephen Chinen Resource Counselor
An educator for over 35 years, Steve has worked with youth of all ages, including preschool, grades K-12, and young adults attending Business College. Since 1997, he has been a school counselor at Helemano Elementary. A very proud graduate of Hawai`i public schools and the University of Hawai`i, Steve served in the Marine Corps, Hawai`i Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve. He advocates for the practice of “mindfulness,” something he has done since beginning Aikido in 1978, and is a member of Mindful Hawai`i, a community group working to promote mindfulness throughout our island home. Steve has created “RAINBOWS in Me: Values of Aloha”, an evidence-based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program at Helemano. He is most proud of his daughter, who is in her second year of college. Steve feels blessed to have crossed paths with Ceeds of Peace, for he wishes to help promote Aloha and build world peace.
Joyce Bajet Resource Teacher
As a School Improvement Resource Teacher at Waipahu High School, it brings Joyce much joy to work with new educators who are passionate and eager to help all students succeed. The willingness and great attitudes of new teachers gives hope for the future they will inspire and instill a love of learning in their students. Prior to Waipahu High School Joyce worked at the district level as a School Assessment Liaison Resource Teacher, and an Induction and Mentoring Resource Teacher, and she also taught 6th grade at Leihoku Elementary School. Joyce believes that we can all learn from each other and that is why she enjoys working with students and teachers.
Ralph SchardtNature Photographer (Pro-Bono Volunteer)
Ralph W. Schardt graciously donates licensed publishing rights for his photographic catalog to Ceeds of Peace. A professional photographer and nonprofit executive, Ralph has 25 years of experience providing photography for corporate and nonprofit clients including the National Park Service, 2008 U.S. Olympic Committee, California Department of Education, and outdoor magazines. Ralph’s passion involves using “nature’s light” to help nonprofit organizations paint their stories. Ralph recently sunsetted the Michael Lee Environmental Foundation after serving as its Executive Director for nine years, and is now the Executive Director of the Audubon Society of Santa Clara County. A long time Audubon member, Ralph has lead bird watching trips for California local nonprofits and businesses, and was the exclusive photographer covering the relocation of the California condor at Pinnacles National Monument.