LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jenny Yamamoto

Position: Librarian
School: Leilehua High School
School District: Hawaii Public Schools
City, State: Wahiawa, HI

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Jenny Yamamoto was nominated by her colleague, Grant Toyooka.

Ms. Yamamoto thinks outside-the-box to get her students college and career ready.  In an public education school complex where 80% of the schools are Title I, she has redesigned her school's library into the Learning Commons. The Learning Commons serve as a hub that provides equity and access for all students in a safe and accepting environment. They bring learning opportunities to an underserved community and create a college atmosphere on a high school campus.  In the Learning Commons, students and faculty can decompress, collaborate with peers on group projects with access to resources, or engage in hands-on STEAM activities that align interest with STEAM-related careers and scholarship opportunities.

Through the Learning Commons, Ms. Yamamoto arranges "Pop-Up PDs" (Professional Development opportunities for students, teachers and community members) where content-area specialists provide hands-on professional development in high-interest areas.  She coordinated with a Fortune 500 company to conduct a rapid innovation workshop (similar to Design Thinking) with 36 students and teachers so they could experience a management strategy used in the company.  She also coordinated a Day of Innovation where teachers from all 10 schools in the Leilehua Complex, college representatives, and industry and public sector representatives provided hands-on exercises for community members to engage in Computer Science. The Day of Innovation helped community members learn what is being taught in schools and how it aligns with college pathways and into the career sector.  Through this initiative, she helped vertically align Computer Science efforts in the education system (K - college) into the job-market and helped educate the community. It was the first step in transforming a community to be accepting of Computer Science.

As her colleagues witness her success of linking the public with their school, they are seeing the value of connecting with the community and the support and opportunities it brings for the students.  The teachers from the two feeder middle and seven elementary schools see the vision of the high school and have adopted a "what can we do to prepare our students" mindset, thus unifying Leilehua Complex efforts.

Ms. Yamamoto has been the inspirational leader for transformational change and leads by example.  As an alum of LHS, she believes in the Leilehua Complex educational system as evidenced by her teaching at her alma mater and enrolling her two children at one of the elementary feeder schools. 

"She is committed to her school and community, and she works diligently to ensure a prosperous future for the students of Wahiawa so they truly are college and career ready and prepared to leave a positive mark on the world," Toyooka said.



Comments (47)


Taylor Davis Posted over a year ago

I am close with mrs.yamamoto i love hanging out with her. She is there for me and I can confide in her. Not only that but she has done great things to our library. I always go and hangout with her whether it’s for lunch or during study hall to talk with her. She really makes me feel that I am supported.

Daphne M Posted over a year ago

I met Jenny in Library School and have been a fan of her since then. The changes that she has done to transform the library to better meet the needs of the students and school community is amazing. Also, presenting ideas at other library districts is pretty cool, too. Congratulations Jenny and keep up the amazing work!

Alisha Amantiad Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Ms. Yamamoto! I cannot wait to tell our Ka'ala Jr Mules about the amazing library & Librarian that awaits them. Thank you for your love and dedication to Wahiawa's Keiki.

Renea Ruark Posted over a year ago

Congratulations, Jenny!!! Your dedication to your community is clear, and it is so awesome to see you recognized for this work! Well-deserved nomination, thank you so much for being such a great teacher-librarian!

Caitlin Ramirez Posted over a year ago

It's inspiring to see an educator like Jenny Yamamoto implement forward-thinking learning opportunities in her school community. Jenny's students and the state of Hawaii will benefit from her vision and commitment.

Stephanie Robertson Posted over a year ago

We support this nomination all the way! Go Jenny! We love a dedicated educator working hard to make a difference. Thank you for all you do Jenny and we hope you go all the way! Laie Elementary is behind you too. :)

Jason Nakamoto Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Jenny, well deserved! You work endlessly to ensure our students have the best learning environment and resources to better prepare them for the real world. Your flexibility and innovative thinking allows the Library Learning Commons to be a gathering place for educational elasticity. Thank you for what you do.

Tricia Nakashima Posted over a year ago

Jenny has put in so much time and effort into creating the Learning Commons at Leilehua High School. She has great plans for creating a wonderful welcoming space for all students to collaborate, explore, create, and innovate. She is bringing our LHS facilities up to par with some private schools on the island. She also spearheads many of the faculty activities on our campus to help build community within our school. Congrats Jenny!! We appreciate you!

Mallory Garcia Posted over a year ago

Yay congratulations Ms. Yamamoto! She truly deserves this title because I see that she works so hard to make the library a more welcoming place. She provided new things in the library like video games and other things that allow us to have more fun. I really appreciate all that she has done for this school and I'm very happy that she got nominated for this award.

Jessica Tantamco Posted over a year ago

Ms.Yamamoto truly deserves this award because she is true to her job and she ensures that she allows all her students to have an equal opportunity. Congratulations! :)

Janessa Figueroa Posted over a year ago

She took me in again even though I had the class last year, thank youuu! And congratulations!!

Isai FOglesong Posted over a year ago

Super nice taking care of the library making it welcoming.

Chase Harrison Posted over a year ago

A truly heart warming person doing everything she can to help students relax

Sasha Posted over a year ago

Thank you for all you do and congratulations!!! :)

BresciaLin Posted over a year ago

We really appreciate you!

Geri Martin Posted over a year ago

Jenny welcomed me to Leilehua with such a warm-hearted smile and continues to shine her light in everything she does. Her innovative thinking is evident through her hard work to transform our library into a campus center. Students gather in library to not just read or borrow a book...they come in to use their minds! We value and appreciate all she does for Leilehua and the Wahiawa community.

Christine A. Posted over a year ago

Ms. Yamamoto inspires me to want to become a librarian that is as kind and helpful to other people.

Cricket Posted over a year ago

Couldn’t have picked a better person because of all her changes In her life and what she has done for Leilehua High School. She is one of the best listeners and problem solvers I know. Love you Jenny

Melody Posted over a year ago

A true innovator!!

Rocio Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Jenny

Leihulu. U. Posted over a year ago

Great Job Miss!!! Thank you for making the library cooler than it already is!!! :D

Joshua Dela Sierra Posted over a year ago

:)

Sharlene Enos Posted over a year ago

I respect your grind miss, You're much appreciated!

Rica Mae Oallesma Posted over a year ago

Thank you for the free bookmarks and for keeping the books organized in the library.

Marlina Paul Posted over a year ago

Congratulations on being nominated! Always willing to give a helping hand to others :)

Bryson Bradley Posted over a year ago

I used to get books all the time last year for AR. She always recommended good books for our class. Thanks a lot!!!

Nicholas Bumanglag Posted over a year ago

Wow, incredible job.

Makana Baker Posted over a year ago

Thank you for being nice and always helping us when we need something from the library!

Taylor Davis Posted over a year ago

I am close with mrs.yamamoto i love hanging out with her. She is there for me and I can confide in her. Not only that but she has done great things to our library. I always go and hangout with her whether it’s for lunch or during study hall to talk with her. She really makes me feel that I am supported.

Isabella Iloreta-Yago Posted over a year ago

Really nice

Deena Posted over a year ago

yayyyy! Jenny has definitely made a positive difference in many ways. She is always willing to assist with teachers and students. She provides access and assistance to everyone who needs/wants it. She always thinks of ways to improve and be BETTER! Even if that means more work for her!

Kevin Maruyama Posted over a year ago

Sounds like Jenny is doing great things at Leilehua! As an elementary teacher in the district, I am glad to hear that there are great educators that my students have lined up in the future. Keep up the good work Jenny!

David Wong Posted over a year ago

Jenny, exemplifies a 21st century teacher as she is helping to move Leilehua High School forward to better support 21st century learning and teaching. She has done this with both vision and purpose as evidenced by transforming our school community library into a commons area. I am confident that my dear family friend/ mentor, Jan Morinaga, (LHS Librarian retired) would resonate my assessment.

Shelley Ferrara Posted over a year ago

Jenny is both innovative and creative, an awesome presence on our campus. Congratulations. Well deserved.

Pam Dumlao Posted over a year ago

Thank you Jenny for all that you do for Leilehua High School! With your hard work and dedication you are so deserving of this award!! May you be blessed with this award as you have blessed us all with your love & support!! Congratulations for being nominated and I pray you will be NOMINATED for the Life Changer of the Year Award!! Go get'em!! GOOO MUUULESSS!!

Darren Kojima Posted over a year ago

Keep up the great work Jenny!

Patricia Tupinio Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Jenny, It's such a pleasure knowing you and being a part of your staff lead me to great things, thank you very much. You are one of the most valuable and knowledgable people I've had a pleasure to know. I realized this as I worked with you and got to know you, Thank you for being a friend and always available, no one is more deserving. Congratulations again. The Community of Wahiawa and Leilehua High School is very fortunate to have you as our Librarian, Educator and Mentor!

Maha Weeks Posted over a year ago

I can't think of a more deserving teacher and librarian. This would be so wonderful!

Karen Posted over a year ago

Fantastic! Congratulations!!!

John sadowski Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Jenny, in being niminated for the LifeChanger of the Year Award! Transforing LHS Library to Learning Commons is evidence of the type of person you are and the growth you have moved toward in your profession. As a former student of mine, at your alma mater, I am so proud of where you are today. Your contribution to the Wahiawa community, Leilehua High School and complex, shows the hard work and time you put into your profession and career. Keep Learning Keeping Improving Keep being Yourself!

Sandra Maruyama Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Jenny! Transforming the library to meet the needs of our students, staff and community will help the school prepare students for "Life after Leilehua". As a former librarian and retiree from Leilehua, I appreciate the passion, effort and patience it took to transform the library. I especially admire the way that you were able to bring people and resources together to share your journey. Look forward to seeing what the future holds for you and for the Leilehua Ohana!

Robert Davis Posted over a year ago

Without a doubt Jenny has made a positive impact upon the entire school community at Leilehua High School. She has invested her time, energy, enthusiasm, care, expertise and love continually throughout the years she has spent at LHS. Jenny has humbly changed the environment of the entire school campus with her efforts to innovate. Her students adore her, her colleagues respect and admire her and her administrators fully support all that she has done and wants to do at the school. I could not be more proud of a fellow LHS alumni who is giving back to her school and community. Thank you Jenny!

Nicholas Spiridigliozzi Posted over a year ago

Jenny Yamamoto is a special person and educator. There is no one who cares more about students than her. Her efforts coordinating the Leilehua Complex Day of Innovation was simply spectacular - such a great event effort for both our school and community.

Jennine Tosaka Posted over a year ago

So well deserved Jenny...Leilehua is SO lucky to have you!!

Carla Lum Posted over a year ago

Great representation from a little town on Oahu - Wahiawa! Jenny continues to keep up with the Age of Information and makes adjustments to the needs and interests of our military and local youth. Partnering with community personnel and businesses, students are given opportunities to gain new skills and make connections. The library is no longer a "shhhh, keep your voices down!" atmosphere but one that is vibrant and fun - a safe place to gather and play.

Mark Kurisu Posted over a year ago

You are a leader, role model and great colleague!

Kristy Kaitoku Posted over a year ago

Cheehoo!!! We love you Ms. Yamamoto! We appreciate all that you do here at LHS and all the support you give us. The Learning Commons, eSports, PD, 3D Printing, collaboration with teachers, Book Fair...are just the tip of the iceberg. You're the best!!!