LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jody Yamauchi-Oku

Position: Student Services Coordinator
School: Koko Head Elementary School
School District: Hawaii Department of Education
City, State: Honolulu, HI

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Jody Yamauchi-Oku was nominated by her colleague, Leimomi Chun.

Mrs. Yamauchi-Oku is a behind the scenes whirlwind, and an influence for good. When parents or teachers are concerned about a student's achievement, Mrs. Yamauchi-Oku is the first person of contact. She's a great listener, a grounded, methodical thinker, and an out of the box problem solver. She provides her services to every student in need, no matter how big or small their concerns may be.

When a student's needs can't be met at the school level, Mrs. Yamauchi-Oku provides suggestions and encouragement to all parties involved so there is a common understanding of what the student needs. If the student's needs require the coordinated services of district resources, Mrs. Yamauchi-Oku brings the resources together to determine how to best support the student. She also monitors progress so that changes can be made according to the student's individual response.

In addition to this, she participates in the leadership team at her school. The team includes administration, department heads, counselors and Mrs. Yamauchi-Oku. They plan the direction of the school and strategize how to get there. She is a teacher leader who focuses on improving students' response to intervention.

With everything going on, she still finds time to service the students one-on-one. She has set up check in and check out interventions, where she encourages students to improve targeted behaviors. She has also provided individual short-term reading interventions to students, to improve their reading fluency. Mrs. Yamauchi-Oku also serves on the board of the Community Basketball League, and still finds time to be a team mom for her son's baseball team. 

"Mrs. Yamauchi-Oku is a force for good on students' behalf in her professional life and personal life. She makes a difference," Chun said. "In our school, Mrs. Yamauchi-Oku is definitely one of the pillars!"