Educating the heart

“I was going to be a cop…now I’m a teacher.”


Jasmine Rossiter

Kalani’s newest English Language Arts resource teacher, Devin Lee, is also a 2009 Kalani High graduate. He studied criminal justice in college, but eventually switched his focus to education.

Jasmine Rossiter, Profile

Born and raised in Hawai’i, Kalani High School welcomes our very own class of 2009 alumni, Devin Lee, back too campus! A star baseball player with early lessons from Mr. Kawamura to “attempting” to play golf in his free time, find Mr. Lee in room J-2.

Starting his postsecondary pathway, Mr. Lee earned his associate’s degree in social and behavioral science at Merced College in California. Finishing up his undecided pathway, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo was his next stepping stone.

With a sudden shift, the law was not Lee’s calling. He returned to school at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa for his post-baccalaureate certificate in secondary education.

“My dad was an educator and, well, he told me never to be one,” he chuckles.

Lee continues to be passionate about his decision. During his early teaching stages, he worked for the district and Jarrett Middle School, a small school in Palolo Valley, where he remained for the past six years.

“Being a teacher, you can teach social studies or English or whatever you want,” he expresses. “For me, it’s about making a connection with students, helping them, and seeing them develop keeps me through it.”

He jumped between teaching special education, social studies, and health within those six years.

“I needed a change,” Lee huffs. “I thought maybe at a higher level. I could use and make a change.”

And making a change is exactly what he’s doing. A new school, a new environment, and new students. Here at Kalani, he teaches English Special Education with sophomores and seniors. His resource center is a new era, but he continues to carry an inspired mindset.

“I wanted something more, an impact,” Lee says. “I wanted to make a difference.”