Monday, July 22, 2024 12:38 PM

Our Staff

Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board Staff

Executive Director Felicia Villalobos

Felicia Villalobos earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno, and her master’s degree from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She has fifteen years of teaching experience as an Elementary Teacher in the public schools on the island of Kaua’i, with her last four years teaching in an inclusion classroom. As a teacher leader, she served as a Grade Level Chairperson and helped mentor Teacher Candidates from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa for many years. Felicia is enthusiastic about her new role with the Hawai’i Teacher Standards Board and looks forward to supporting her colleagues in the field and fulfilling the Hawai’i Teacher Standards Board’s Vision and Mission.

Licensing Specialist Tracey Idica, NBCT

Tracey Idica is a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) with over three decades of classroom experience in California and Hawaii schools. An alumna of the University of Southern California, she began her education career as an English teacher at Carson High School in 1982. As one of the HTSB Licensing Specialists at HTSB, she is grateful for the opportunity to continue to impact the teaching profession and serve Hawaii’s teachers. Tracey is the network coordinator of Hawaii NBCTs, a local affiliate of the National Board for Professional Teacher Standards (NBPTS). She is proud to be a teacher and believes in the power and responsibility of educators to lead. Tracey still has a coffee cup given to her by a student over three decades ago that has a simple message: “Those who can teach. Those who can’t, go into some less significant line of work.” Her goal is to continue the work that recognizes teaching as a true profession with accomplished teachers in every classroom.

Licensing Specialist Kris Murakami, Esq. 

Kris Murakami is a Licensing Specialist for the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board (HTSB). She is no stranger to HTSB having served for almost 13 years as HTSB’s attorney with the Department of the Attorney General.  Kris Murakami has over 29 years of experience in state government and has represented the DOE in many diverse matters ranging from family court cases to special education due process cases.  Kris successfully argued four DOE special education cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Kris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara Law School.  Kris is excited for the opportunity to work directly with HTSB on maintaining Hawaii Teacher licensing standards and ensuring that the standards are being applied and fully implemented so that Hawaii’s keiki are provided with a quality education taught by qualified educators.

Licensing Specialist Jennifer Padua, Ph.D. 

Jennifer Padua is a Licensing Specialist for the Hawaiʻi Teachers Standards Board. She has over two decades of educational experience in the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, at Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, and in the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Portland, and a master’s and doctoral degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Jennifer looks forward to supporting her colleagues with ensuring every keiki receives a quality education by qualified educators.

Licensing Specialist Mitzie Higa, Ed.D. 

Mitzie Higa is a Licensing Specialist for the Hawaiʻi Teachers Standards Board. She has her Associate of Arts Degree from Honolulu Community College, her Bachelor’s in Education Degree from the University of  Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, her Master of Arts in Teaching with a Specialization in National Board Certification Teacher Leadership from National University, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership in Urban Education K-12 through Higher Ed from University of Southern California (USC).  She has been a teacher within the HIDOE since 2000 as a teacher of Kindergarten, 3rd grade, 5th grade, a Technology Coordinator, and a Curriculum Coordinator and ELL Coordinator. While teaching 5th grade, she also was a lecturer for the University of  Hawaiʻi  West Oahu for their Elementary Education program. She was a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) from 2007-2017,  before switching to a staff position at the  Hawaiʻi  State Teachers Association,  as a Government Relations Specialist working to ensure laws were passed that would support our public school teachers, including our public charter school teachers, and advocating on their behalf to move our profession forward.  She believes with all her heart, if there is a will, there is a way, and she places herself in positions that will support others to fulfill their dreams of becoming a qualified licensed teacher, as she believes it is one of the most important careers in the world.  She knows teachers shape the future.

Licensing Specialist Steven Harada

Steven Harada is a Hawai`i public school graduate and former employee of the Department of Education (DOE) – Office of Talent Management (OTM).  He brings over nine years of Human Resources experience to the Hawai`i Teacher Standards Board (HTSB).  During his tenure at OTM, he worked closely with HTSB in achieving 100% compliance during the DOE’s biannual teacher licensing audits pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes §302A-805.  Steven believes in providing customer service excellence to all, but more importantly, strives to achieve HTSB’s mission to set high teacher licensing and credentialing standards to provide future generations with qualified teachers.

Secretary Darcie-Ann Chung


Teacher Licensing Clerk Natalie Aquino

Natalie Aquino is a Licensing Clerk at HTSB with over 15 years of field experience at Hawaii public schools.  With her eagerness to take on a new challenge in her career, Natalie hopes to broaden her knowledge and be able to assist the HTSB team in every possible way.  Just as she believes that her family is the most important part of her life, Natalie also believes that HTSB plays an important role in making sure that Hawaii’s keiki are receiving a quality education.

Teacher Licensing Clerk Kellianne Pang

Born and raised in Honolulu, Kellianne Pang received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Pacific University in Oregon. She taught English as a foreign language for six years in South Korea at Seoul and Daegu public elementary schools. She is excited to work with the Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board team and help them ensure that Hawaiʻi’s keiki are provided with the quality education that they deserve.