Telling the Good News in Public Schools

Lots of good things are happening in Kauai’s public schools, and Sean Doi captures them for the cable TV show Kauai Shining Stars in Education

The night sky is filled with shining stars — and so are Kauai’s public schools. To help students and staff share their positive glow with everyone else, Sean Doi, Kauai Complex Area resource teacher with the state Department of Education, is working on the third season of a television show that highlights their many achievements. Kauai Shining Stars in Education is a 30-minute monthly program with two or three stories per episode that spotlight some of the good things happening in the public school system.

“A lot of times in the media we hear the negative stuff that deserves the ink, but at the same time we have a lot of great things going on in our schools,” says Doi, who produces and hosts the TV program.

Some of those “great things” include Kauai’s anti-bullying campaign, Wilcox Elementary School’s creative arts program and Kapaa High School’s peer mediation. In fact, there are so many progressive projects and valuable people in the DOE that Doi finds it hard to include them all.

“Every time I hear about a good story, it’s challenging to try a find a way to fit it in,” says Doi, who was born and raised on the island and graduated from Kauai High School in 1989.

But he’s doing the best he can with the assistance of a small team of volunteers that includes his go-to camera crew, Kauai High School seniors Jasmine Hafalla and Danielle Allianic.

“Helping Sean and filming the show has helped me get exposure,” says Hafalla, who plans to study media production after graduating.

They both have enjoyed honing their camera skills and gaining knowledge about the exceptional people and educational programs happening around the island.

“It’s nice to help out other people,” notes Allianic.

Having student assistants was one of the goals Doi and Bill Arakaki, Kauai Complex Area superintendent, had in mind in 2012 when they came up with the idea to launch a television show. The two have achieved several goals like this since they initially put their heads together to find positive information to get out to the public.

“The idea of sharing stories and ‘bright spots’ on students, teachers, administrators, support staff and friends in education was amazing,” says Arakaki. “Mr. Doi’s passion for teaching and learning motivates him to seek and deliver the projects, events and hard work that became known to our community and globally on our Kauai Shining Stars for Education show.”

Doi has had a passion for promoting education since he found his niche in college as a student teacher.

“It was a great experience,” he says. His first job after graduating from University of Hawaii with a major in elementary education was as a kindergarten teacher at Wilcox Elementary, where he followed in the footsteps of his mother Violet, who also was a teacher at the school.

“It was scary because I was fresh out of college and didn’t know what to expect,” says Doi, who attended the school as a child and admits, “That was nice, but also pressure as well.”

He later taught at Ele‘ele Elementary, and became a literacy coach and curriculum coordinator until transferring to the complex area in 2003 to accept his current position. Today he is responsible for multiple activities such as training instructors as well as accessing data and implementing curriculum. One of his greatest achievements to-date has been the initiation and continued success of Shining Stars. And while students and faculty often are humble and reticent to share their stories on the program, once they do, they feel a sense of satisfaction that Doi delights in witnessing.

“The interview in and of itself is nerve-wracking for them, but at the same time, once it’s done and they see themselves on TV, they feel amazing — they just light up. Everybody likes that recognition and accomplishment,” explains Doi, whose father Malcolm also was an educator and served as a counselor at Kapaa High School.

Doi is grateful for the feedback he receives from the community and especially from family members of keiki showcased on the program.

“This never would have been possible without a TV show like this,” says Doi, who with wife Sheryll has a 3-year-old daughter, Savannah.

The DOE has released a new program that will air alternately with Kauai Shining Stars called Kauai Complex Area Discussion Forums, where the public can learn from staff about important topics in the public school system such as Common Core Standards. Both programs air Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30 to 7 p.m. and Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 to 9:30 p.m. on Oceanic Channel 6. They also can be found at

“I truly appreciate Sean’s enthusiasm and persistence in showcasing the many ‘stars’ and ‘bright spots’ in education on Kauai,” says Arakaki. “He brings positive and refreshing stories that make a difference by showing the true and actual perspectives of our efforts in supporting children attain their dreams and aspirations to succeed in life and become contributing citizens in our community.”