Getting to know the new faculty

Learn more about the new faculty and staff for this school year.


By Se

McKinley High School welcomes eight new faculty and staff to the ohana.

Sean Willem A. Giron, reporter

For McKinley High School, the new school year brings new students, but also new faculty and staff. With that, there are more teachers to get to know. 


Principal Ron Okamura said he believes the most important thing for the teacher and the student is to establish a good bond and strong relationship with each other. A good student-teacher relationship can be beneficial for both parties. It helps the student find it easier to ask for help from their teacher, while the teachers find it easier to keep track of the progress of the student, and see how well they are doing academically. 

Okamura gave one simple but important piece of advice to the new teachers. He said that being a teacher is hard work, but gratifying. In his words he said a good teacher should establish a good relationship with the students and be patient, tolerant and flexible. 

“Expect the unexpected,” Okamura said. 

Amie Yee

Amie Yee, McKinley’s new student services coordinator, was born in Vietnam. She graduated from the University of Hawaii, having a bachelor’s degree in teaching ESL, a Master in Curriculum and Instruction, and a post baccalaureate in teaching Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  students. She said she moved to Hawaii when she was in fifth grade, and there she was inspired to help students. She said she was also a part time ESL teacher in the late ’90s at McKinley High School.

“I hope to be able to work with faculties, families, and outside organizations to support students, help them become successful, to graduate, and to be contributing members of society,” Yee said. 

Linell Kam

Linell Kam, McKinley’s second new Student Services Coordinator, was born in Honolulu, and is half Chinese, half Filipino. She graduated from the University of Hawai`i, having a major in education, while also having a Doctorate at Aspen University. In her own words, she supports teachers and administration of the Electronic Comprehensive Student Support System. She said it helps document all individualized education programs of the IDEA students. She has annual meetings with the teachers, while also continuing to test the IDEA students to check on their progress. With the help of the eCSSS, she can ensure that each IDEA student has their own set of programs to fit their personal needs. 

Miles Guy

Miles Guy teaches English for IDEA students for juniors and seniors. He was born in California and has a mixed nationality of African, European, Asian, Native American, and Oceania. He graduated from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa with a bachelor’s degree in Korean Language. He said he likes music, watching movies and learning languages. He is also planning to manage the Anime Club.

“If you need help with other languages, I can teach you,” Guy said. 

In his class, he teaches American poetry, and poetry in general. He also teaches types of essays and how to view a movie. He said he makes sure his class is active, fun, sociable and as hands-on as a writing class can get.

Lacy Solis

Lacy Solis teaches Graphic Technology. She was born and raised in Honolulu, enjoys paddling, and is of Hawaiian, Chinese, and Portuguese ancestry. She graduated from McKinley High School, and attended  college at  the University of Hawai`i, majoring in Communication Arts. 

When describing her class, she said that “they have to take my class to find out,” but said she can ensure that it is a hands-on class that teaches the Adobe Suite programs, how to screen print on a t-shirt, how to create, design, and layout banners and stickers, with a focus on having graphic design as both a professional career and a recreational hobby. She said she wants her students to creatively design their projects and see their work being produced. She also wants to teach her students how to manage their time and how to think out of the box. 

Kelly Sakuda

Kelly Sakuda teaches Physical Science and Biology. He was born in Honolulu and is Japanese. He graduated from Iolani High School and from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa with a bachelor’s in Education Science. He likes sports and likes watching it. He hopes he will be able to watch the games where McKinley will be playing. He likes watching football, softball and baseball the most. In Physical Science he said he teaches things about matter and interactions, as well as its forces. In Biology he said he teaches the science of life, eco systems and organisms. He said he wants his class to be hands-on, but is still unsure about it as he said he feels like he needs to know the class more first. 

Francis Vilar

Francis Vilar teaches AVID from freshman to senior year and Language Arts class to the sophomores. He was born in the Philippines and is half Ilocano and half Tagalog. He graduated from Kapiolani Community cCllege for his Hospitality and Tourism degree. He also graduated from University of Hawai`i for his dance degree. He is also an alumni, graduating from McKinley High School. He said he is going to be one of the faculty advisors for the dance club  with Deijahlynn Holcomb as the head adviser, and encourages the students to join,  saying it’ll be fun, and stating that practices are every Wednesday and Thursday after school from 3 to 6:30 pm. 

“I’m excited to get along with former and new teachers, and the students that I’m about to inspire and influence for the rest of their lives,” Vilar said.

In his words, his AVID class is “essentially a college preparatory class,” He said he teaches organization skills to the class and also helps them work on their college e-binder online, which also helps further their organizational skills. For Language Arts, he said he  teaches rhetorical devices and how to write persuasive essays. He also helps with Reading Plus, which is a program that aims to help students improve their reading comprehension and vocabulary. When describing his class, he says that it is hands-on “100 percent.” He said he likes to do activities at the start of every class, such as “would you rather.” 

Sandra Kugisaki-Ongie

Sandra Kugisaki-Ongie is McKinley’s Curriculum Coordinator. She was born in Honolulu and is Japanese. She graduated from University of Hawai`i at Manoa, earning a BS in Electrical Engineering, a PD in Secondary Math, and masters in Library Science. She also used to teach math and science at McKinley during the early 2000’s. She is the co-adviser for the Crochet and Knitting Club, and also helps with the Stem Club. Her hobbies include crochet, knitting, and basically any type of crafts. As the curriculum coordinator, it is her job to write and revise the academic plan for the school. She works with the teachers on the data teams process and also prepares for upcoming WASC accreditations and visits. 

“Welcome back to a new school year. I hope that you have an enjoyable and safe school year!” Ongie said.

Nicole Jankowski

Nicole Jankowski teaches Resource Math, Resource Algebra, and co-teaches Modeling Our World. She was born in Wisconsin and is Norwegian and Polish. She graduated from Saint Cloud State University and majored in Special Education. She competed in cross country, track and field and powerlifting while in high school. She is an avid surfer and has participated in Ironman triathlons and Boston marathons. She said she teaches math on a basic level and focuses on real world problems. She describes her class as having structure, routine, humor and a focus on accountability. She said she hopes to inspire students.

“I think it’s important to help kids know how the skills I’m teaching them relates to the real world,” Jankowski said. “I hope my kids find that I do love my job.”