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New DOE Position for MHS Grad

Gisele Wong crop for web

Gisele Wong. Photo courtesy of Castle-Kahuku Complex.

A Molokai High graduate has been named to a new position for Oahu’s Castle-Kahuku Complex Area schools. Gisele Wong, a long-time educator raised on Molokai, is now working as the Title 1 linker to ensure that the 16-school complex meets federal requirements.

Title 1 is part of the federal government’s commitment to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and other students by providing school funding based on high numbers of students from low-income families.

Daughter of Mark Ortogero and the late Linda Adachi Kahookano, Wong was born on Oahu and moved to Molokai when she was 15; most of her extended family still lives on the Friendly Isle

“I owe a lot of where I am as an educator and a lifelong learner to a handful of MHIS teachers, who believed that anything is possible,” said Wong, a mother of five.

Wong, a mother of five, has been named the Title 1 linker for Oahu’s Castle-Kahuku Complex.

Wong has worked in education for 14 years. She served as the Castle-Kahuku Complex Area’s Effective Educator System resource teacher, helping administrators, teachers and schools write learning and improvement objectives. She also taught at Kahuku High and Intermediate, and Hauula Elementary.

Kahuku-resident Wong earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Capella University and is working toward her doctorate degree in the same field. She received her bachelor’s degree in special education from Brigham Young University-Hawaii and is also licensed to teach special education.

“From an educational perspective, I have learned that for better or worse, it takes one good teacher to change the entire course of many,” said Wong. “I’m glad and grateful that I had a few good teachers on Molokai, when I needed them the most in my education.”

While her work has taken her back to Oahu, she speaks fondly of Molokai.

“I love and miss the late-night trips for hot bread, hanging out at One Ali`i Park and in Kalae near the Kaulapapa lookout, cruising down the wharf to go fishing, and driving up a ridge to scan the landscape for deer,” she said.

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