"Leading With Aloha" Author Jan Iwase (Beyond The Lines)



hi I'm rusty koumori and this is beyond the lines we are broadcasting live from the beautiful think Tec Hawaii TV studio in the Pioneer Plaza in downtown Honolulu this show is based on my book also titled beyond the lines and it's about leadership creating a superior culture of excellence and finding greatness in a special guest is a woman I've known since I was in high school and I have great respect for her and her family and she's the author of her new book titled leading with Aloha she is Janney Wasi and today we are going beyond leadership a Jen hi thank you so much mister great to see you oh well I'm to be here you've seen me grow up I've seen you grow up and I'm very proud of all you've done I'm proud of you and your family thank you very much now I I read your book over the weekend and I loved your book and we're gonna talk about that well I had no idea that you grew up in a Whitmore village I did I was it well I spent my first seventeen and a half years in Whitmore village my dad worked for dole it used to be Hawaiian plantation company and and it turned to Dole and he lived in a little cottage two bedrooms there were five of us kids a great place to grow up I mean honestly you talk about village it takes a village to raise a child well literally I literally lived in a village and you know I learned so much about empathy about perseverance because these were my parents and their friends and our neighbors were all hard-working people you know they worked in the pineapple village a pineapple plantation and started off as laborers and they never complained and you know we we didn't have much I look back and I think we're probably could be considered or but we never felt that because we had so many other we have experiences and riches that I think to make me into the person I am today sure and you know I grew up in Iowa till I was around seven years old if we're moving to Mililani so I know Whitmore village but you worked in the pineapple fields I did I was five summers it was hard work and I do talk about in my book I think that's where I really learned about teamwork you know there is a gang where we were led by an older woman a grandma type of person and it was a mixture of old-timers who were working as full-time workers and us newbies who'd never worked in the pineapple fields before and when you think about it you know after struggling and learning from them on how to persevere and how to continue I think it made me such a strong and I learned about Martinez those ladies a just really helped us too persevere and to continue and I owe them a lot yeah and it didn't matter if you were male or female working in the pineapple fields I mean everyone was pretty much treated the same yes and I think you know it was hard work but I think that there's a sense of pride in being able to get through this summer the whole summer and like I say my book we were we were earning a dollar 40 cents an hour you know so when you think about it you know it's not a lot of money but we were we really went hard you know it gave us it gave us an inspiration to continue our education because we didn't want to do what our parents have to do to survive yeah now let's talk about your parents again I mean they're amazing people well what's the biggest thing you've learned from your parents well are amazing people and I think that anybody who knows our family knows that it started with them you know they they made us believe that we could be anything we wanted to be and they encouraged us along the way and I think we all blaze our own path there's nobody who has I mean my sister was an attorney and a judge my other sister works for a development company she's there government affairs officer my brother is um he Anna Lilla for a while and now he's with the city managing director no my youngest brother actually you know like I say he could have in a musician but he actually is a professor at the University of Alpha humor sad and and I'm educator and I think we all felt very fulfilled in our jobs we all feel that we did our communities and um and it started from our parents really instilling in us I completely agree let's talk about your family now so your husband Randy your three sons Justin Jaron and Jordan right your two grandsons Jace and Jaden right you are surrounded by boys I am how and you're the glue you are the glue how did you keep every everyone together well I enjoyed being a parent I joy and like I enjoy teaching but I enjoyed being a a wife yeah and um and II had goals in his life which required him to be out of the house more than me and I was I did more than my share I guess but you know what I loved it I enjoyed it I enjoyed picking them up and taking them places and I enjoyed either soccer coach or you know helping them going out and in tennis or whatever and I think that having boys really helped me to be a better teacher actively because boys are not as I think especially an elementary school sometimes who we expect our students to be like us and if you're with a female you were a good student probably yeah and sometimes always are a little more active and antsy and helped me to really be a better teacher I think because I was in mind that we needed to do things differently for all of our students then can you became an educator a teacher for 45 years what what do you like about teaching no I look back and all the students I've impacted all of the teachers and staff that I worked with and I I think that it's such an important job and I really liked knowing that I had a positive impact on kids and maybe help them to believe in themselves so they could move forward and do great things themselves anything is what we re just for you impact the next generation and make them believe that they can do good things in our country in the last 15 years of those forty five you were a principal and what did you like about being principal well you know I never thought about becoming a principal until my principal kind of put that out in my ear and then I realize that I would probably be able to impact more people as a principal then as a teacher because as a teacher you have your classroom and you impact those kids you impact parents you know and help them to realize that they are biggest support for their students their kids but as a principal you can impact more people your impact the teachers who then impact students in their class and you impact all of them the parents at the school as well as the community so I think that's what I enjoy most about you know principal and now you're gonna impact more people because you wrote a wonderful book titled leading with Aloha and I read it over the weekend and I loved it and you have a big book signing this coming Saturday August 3rd at Barnes & Noble at Ala Moana 1:00 p.m. so we want everyone to come out there and buy a book and buy multiple books and get it signed by you why did you write this book in well when I was getting ready to retire you know and and please understand that I still loved doing what I was doing but there comes a time when you just have to say well it's time to move on and try something do and so I had made up my mind that I was going to retire at the end of the last school year and at that time I was I didn't think of what I could do next to impact education um I had a blog I mean I mean my blog it's about seven years now and I I still act in it but it's about education issues things that I'm concerned about and things that our school did and just to just spread the word that what things are happening in schools and the book was an opportunity to share my message with a wider audience and to maybe elevate the discussion about education as um everybody says that education is a priority for them but we don't really see it happening schools are still you know having difficulty providing the basic services for their kids their students things like the arts and physical education gets them sometimes but on the side because there isn't enough funding for yeah and I really believe that we need as educators we need to tell our stories because what these educators have outstanding stories about how they became an educator and why they became an educator and the impact that they've had on on kids and general public he doesn't always hear that so really want to impact more people by writing this book and it was a lot harder than I thought it would be you know you wrote a book I respect all I remember what you said when we're having brunch you know last year and you said I thought I was finished with my book and a night with the publisher and he said you know you really need to kind of change things around and so you needed to kind of rewrite your book and you said I didn't want to do it but I knew that he was right yeah that's exactly how I felt about my book I mean just you know Randy said even if you don't get it published it'll be there for our kids and their kids enough but I really wanted I was hoping that it would it would be published because I really want to make a bigger impact on education and you are Jen and you know there's in your book you talk about an Apple analogy which I really enjoy can you tell us about that okay so I had an activity with them and I really don't remember what I was why I was doing it but I brought a bag of apples and each of all the kids took one Apple and they examined it very carefully and we talked about okay everybody has an apple are they all the same and they didn't know what I was actually gonna be doing with those apples but what I did was I collected them and I put them all out and I said okay which one is your you know they examine them very carefully and they all on there because each one was a little bit different and I think what that experience really showed them but it also showed me was that you know everybody is different you can't expect to treat every child the same way and that's why relationships are so important in any any classroom any school you know that relationship between the teacher and the student the principal and the teacher the principal and the student the principal and the parents you know it's you can't it's not one size fits all and we kids quickly came to realize wow you know I thought it was just an app it's not it's special and they kept it and wanted to keep it because there was there's and you know I think the biggest thing is you don't know what's on the inside and we need to get to know kids on the inside not just the outside and that was always my passion as a teacher and as a principal you get to know kids I loved I loved reading that part in your book because you know people just look on what's on the outside without really knowing the story yeah or what they're dealing with on the inside zactly and the beauty that they have that's right Jen before we go to break I want to ask you I mean you've dealt with tons of military families and special needs now you know students and you included everybody in the classes and you included the input and involvement with not just the parents but the community why was that so important for you well first of all when I became the principal and it was highly cool Elementary School in Daniel K Inouye in 2016 it was it is a military school and you know there is a perception for military families that schools in Hawaii may not be as good as they want for their students so was very important for me to really get to know the community and to really include them I really feel that need to be you know it doesn't matter if they have she'll needs because they also have special strengths yeah which we need to know and many times we overlook that because we label kids and I'm saying that we shouldn't be doing that we should look at this angst because when you do that you can you you find that they can really contribute to your classroom or dear oh the culture of your school and it was very important to really include everyone because we had students coming and going throughout the year one third of the kids were new one third the kids left so you know basically in a classroom you had to come you had to have this culture of acceptance and including because otherwise those kids who are coming in later will not feel like they are a part of the classroom they need to feel that they're a part if we're going to teach them and they're if they're going to be learning what we need them to learn and I think that many times in in school it's not just the academics that we're teaching we're teaching that social-emotional we're teaching them about giving getting along with all people and caring and respect for not just each other but we're I'm into your plan I love it Jen we're gonna take a quick break and when we come back we're gonna continue going beyond leadership thank you you are watching beyond the lines on think tech Hawaii with my special guest jan i wasi we will be back in a quick minute Aloha I'm Mellie James host of let's mana up Tuesdays every other Tuesday from 11 to 11:30 this show is meant to dive into stories of local product entrepreneurs and how they're growing their companies from right here in Hawaii I'm so thrilled to have our show kicked off and so please join us on Tuesdays at 11 o'clock as we talked to local entrepreneurs and hear their stories Aloha my name is Wendy Lowe and I want you to join me as we take our health back on my show all we do is talk about things in everyday life in Hawaii or abroad I have guests on board that would just talk about different aspects of health in every in every way whether it's medical health nutritional health diabetic health you name it we'll talk about it even financial health will even have some of them is Hawaii's on board and all the different topics that I feel will make your health and your lifestyle a lot better so come join me I welcome you to take your health back Mahalo welcome back to beyond the lines on think tech Hawaii my special guest today has been an educator for forty-five years a school principal for 15 of those years and she's the author of her new book leading with Aloha she is Janney Wasi and today we are going beyond leadership Jen I know you read my book I want to know what your thoughts are about my book I've actually read it three times rusty oh yeah I read it when I first got it years ago I guess it was and I reread it this past weekend cuz I knew I was gonna be on your show but I really like your I like how you've done you're looking through a real nice order or anybody to learn your leadership lessons and I think what I really liked was um little stories you have because those were people those are kids that Justin and Jaron cool oh yeah and they played against him and they played with them and so I really enjoyed those stories but what I really liked what I remembered a lot of was your first time going to Creighton and your stories about your blister oh yeah and the cold weather playing in the cold weather and I think that those incidents showed me that you didn't give up you know you realize that you needed to change your mindset and that he had to not make excuses and I think I saw that throughout your whole career and you're still doing it today so I really I think that you know our life experiences really hate how we lead others and those incidents really they did yeah and you know I was Justin and jaren's private tennis pro for many years yes when they started high school and you've seen me in action with them yes what are your thoughts about that you are always and I know you're still are the same way very very organized so your lessons were very and out and it wasn't just you know on the fly you you knew what you were doing and I think that really helped make the lessons go well I liked how you always had a quote and you always asked them what they thought about that quote I think that it made them think so you're more than just a tennis teacher to them you were really never life coach for them that going ahead you know they knew that you were somebody that they could emulate and that you were friend as well as their cool my world famous quote of the days they all love that well I liked it because it helped me as a teacher and as an educator so I like and the parents would love listening into those clothes yes all right now I know Jan I know what the biggest adversity of your life is and your second son jeren passed away last year from chronic kidney disease it was 38 you season I feel like I'm his second father I feel like I'm you know he's one of my boys tell me about Jaron well Jaron was our middle child so he was um Justin was not quite two years older and Jordan was eight years younger than him he was in the middle special eye by three boys he was the most he had the most um empathy he was aware of people and of their feelings and he knew how to lift them over their fun if anything you know he did that multiple multiple times with me when I would just be feeling maybe a little bit down and he could sense that and he would come and talk with me and and I appreciate it he was very we're well aware of people he remembered them he we were surprised at the number of people whom he knew and impacted he passed away you know we had no idea Jaron was a a very I mean happy he had to work hard for what he accomplished in tennis but in school and when he decided to move to Las Vegas some it was and a sadness is we're used to having him around and so when he came home that or that winter break and he went to the is optometrist you have his contact lenses renewed and she saw that his eyes were hemorrhaging she sent him immediately to the emergency room and they ran a series of s and when they told us that he had on a kidney disease stage 5 caused by hi uh sure I mean we were just as we had no idea I don't know if he had any idea that he was sick they said it's um Holly the silent killer don't feel any different when they have disease but in during fashion he just lifestyle you just diet we're of his body we were here and he was there so we couldn't really talk to him that much about it but you know he was in us updated he called us gone on a Pokemon go raid with his nephews and his brother and some ends and he was on his way home he called us and he said I have an appointment tomorrow I told Jase I'd be at his afternoon soccer match we loved that was the last week he show up for his appointment and his brother you know his boss called Justin then they went over and he was already he had already passed though it was very difficult it was very difficult but I think we chose to he lived and all the people who shared with us the stories that they had about Garin kind things he did it it helped us to it'll never I was completely healed but we can weave on our what our nice yeah i'm i you asked me to speak at his celebration of life and mmm-hmm there must have been a thousand people there i mean it was so there are so many people and then I went with you and your family to the City Council when they had the phone unanimously to name central Oahu regional our Tennis Complex jaren and yes that's amazing I mean Jaron was such a likeable boy so much fun so genuine I mean he just made everybody feel better about themselves so yeah I mean I miss him tremendously and I i know rusty that throughout i mean he would tell us when he saw you he was very proud of all that you have done and you were a coach for an opposing team I mean you were Punahou he was Iolani but he was still very how to say that you were his teacher his coach yeah and and I think he learned a lot I'm you know at that time I had Jan I had I was privately coaching five of the johani top boys on their varsity and the number one do a lotta girl Naama jaren's legacy is gonna live on forever yes Jen I want to ask you so you know resiliency I mean obviously you and your family have to be resilient obviously you know military families through the years they have to be resilient how important is resilience resilience is very very important and I think I learned that my parents you know never let us through easy way you know they just realized that anything worth doing was worth working hard for I think I learned resilience from our students actually right especially my military students well also with my head start students you know because those parents even if they were from low-income underachieving families they wanted the best for their kids which is what our parents wanted for us I'm sure your parents wanted for you as well when I think of our students and the challenges that they went through to move schools sometimes in the middle of the year sometimes moving several times in the middle of the year what I think of a parent being deployed you know and in harm's way and the Heron was remaining if there was again sometimes it was a single soldier who was deployed and that child was sent to live with neighbors or something those kids have to be resilient and they were I learned it from them they were strong those parents were strong I know that they were having challenges so we were trying we were there to disappoint them but ultimately they were the ones who were living it I don't think I could ever understand that until Jordan was deployed anestachio as in the in the Air Force and he wasn't in combat but you know you worry and so I learned resilience from them I learned that you can be strong and that being strong even even crying is not a sign of Lee yes I agree yeah and so no just let's just have everybody be resilient and be authentic and Jen I got it I got it say thank you so much for joining me on the show today because you are such a positive person you have great energy I mean your whole family you know and I'm just amazed how all of these years you're the one woman surrounded by all the men I really want to thank you for your insights and best of luck with the book and again everyone can come and meet you is Saturday August 3rd Barnes & Noble Ala Moana at 1:00 p.m. thank you so much rusty and I have learned so much from you and doing this program as I enjoyed and I'm sure a lot of people do thank you Jim okay and thank you for watching beyond the lines on think tech Hawaii and a special thank you to my clothing sponsor Iolani incorporated more information please visit rusty Komori comm and my book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble I hope that Jan and I will inspire you to create your own superior culture of excellence and to find your greatness and help others find theirs Aloha

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