Koalani Lagareta was born and raised in Honolulu where she currently resides and teaches third grade at Wai’alae Public Charter School. She was introduced to integrated, thematic, project-based curriculum while attending The Evergreen State University where she earned her undergraduate degree in 1997. Through the experience of designing her own individual learning contracts focused on early childhood education and permaculture design, she was inspired to share this experience with children. Koalani continued her education at Chaminade University where she earned her the Masters in Education in 2004, with emphasis in mathematics and science, as well as dual Elementary Education and Montessori certification. She believes in the power of novel, relevant experiences that foster meaningful connections and inspire passionate lifelong learners.
Koalani has 15 years of teaching experience in Hawai`i schools, both private and public charter. She has taught grades 1-8 in culture-based, place-based and project-based programs. At Halau Ku Mana (HKM) New Century Public Charter School, Koalani collaborated with a team of teachers to design and implement a 3-year spiraling, math/scienc integrated project and culture-based middle school curriculum focused on coastal marine plants and animals. HKM is a Title I startup charter school in central Honolulu serving a 75% native Hawaiian student body, with close to 30% SPED population. She is no stranger to the challenges facing Hawai`i’s at-risk youth today. At Wai’alae Public Charter School, Koalani was the science cadre head for 5 years, leading the charge to develop integrated, thematic science and social studies units for grades K-5. She is currently working with her team to overhaul the 3rd grade curriculum in order to foster more integration, independence, and innovation.