Meet Our Administrators & Teachers | Hawaii Palms English School

Shinji Fukuoka, Hawaii Palms English School CEO

Shinji Fukuoka

CEO

I am excited to be a part of the Hawaii Palms English School team. Although I am not always in Hawaii, I have a love of Hawaii and of helping people learn English. I hope you enjoy your time in Hawaii and I look forward to seeing you here at school!

Takeshi Mitsuya, COO of Hawaii Palms English School

Takeshi Mitsuya

COO, Owner

Affectionately known as Tak by teachers, students, and staff, he has been the owner and president of Hawaii Palms English School since 2008. Tak was born in Tokyo, Japan, and made his wish come true by moving to Hawaii in 2005.
“I get a lot of joy from supporting and encouraging students who want to study English in Hawaii. I think English  is a global language which can be used to open up a new opportunities, and Hawaii, with its rich cultural mix, is the perfect place to learn English. At Hawaii Palms, we offer an environment for students to learn English as well as enjoy their stay in Hawaii.” Tak likes soccer,  golf, cooking, and finding new places to eat in town. Once a month, Tak hosts our school BBQ. He has a Hawaii state real-estate license, has managed restaurants in Hawaii, and consults students who wish to start a new business or move to Hawaii.

Javier De la Cuba, Principal

Javier De la Cuba

Principal

Javier was born in California but he grew up in Peru and Canada. He began teaching English after graduating from university in the fall of 2000, and since then he’s been fortunate to live and teach in a number of places – he has taught English in South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Mexico, Peru, and Taiwan. He joined Palms soon after moving to Hawaii in 2009. Although he mainly focuses on managing the school, he still loves teaching and can continue to be seen in the classroom helping students from time to time. He spends most of his free time with his four favorite people – his wife and three boys.

Kayoko Perkins, Instructor & Enrollment Coordinator

Kayoko Perkins

Student Enrollment Coordinator, Instructor

Originally from Osaka, Japan, Kayoko was one of the founders of Hawaii Palms English School. She has lived in Hawaii for 10 years and is currently our Student Enrollment Coordinator and English Instructor. Kayoko loves to welcome new students to the school, and her friendly demeanor makes current and returning students feel at home. Now a proud U.S citizen, she wishes to share her excitement for English with all Hawaii Palms students: “I’ve experienced how being able to speak English can dramatically change your life and open up a whole new world. I’d like to share what I’ve experienced with all of you.”

Nikki Turner, Student Accommodation Manager

Nikki Turner

Accommodation Manager

Nikki was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, and she is fluent in three languages. She studied English in Los Angeles before moving to Las Vegas to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Management from the University of Nevada. She has lived on the Big Island of Hawaii and been living in Oahu since 2010. As Accommodations Coordinator at Palms, she enjoys making sure students are satisfied and comfortable with their accommodation choices. In her free time, she likes to do yoga, hike, and watch movies.

Ami Tokunaga, Student Enrollment Coordinator

Ami Tokunaga

Student Enrollment Coordinator

Ami is from Tokyo, Japan. She started dancing hula when she was 10 years old and moved to Oahu in 2007 to go to continue learning hula and attend the University of Hawaii. In 2001, she graduated with a degree in Second Language Studies. She started working at Palms in late 2016 and is very excited to meet and help all the new students here at school.

Keiko Kobayashi, School Administrator

Keiko Kobayashi

Administrator, Accountant

Keiko is from Kanagawa, Japan, and has been living in Hawaii since 2005.
She joined Hawaii Palms in the fall of 2008 and is currently an administrator and the school’s accountant. She loves helping students feel comfortable while studying in Hawaii and likes to share her favorite (secret) places to eat and have fun in Honolulu. In her free time, she loves to play golf and is always looking for the newest places to eat.

Brianne Espiritu, English Instructor

Brianne Espiritu

Instructor

Brianne was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. After graduating from university in Oregon with a B.A. in Business Administration and a minor in Japanese, she moved to Japan to teach English. Since the, she has taught students from all over the world in England and Hawaii. When not teaching at Hawaii Palms, she enjoys spending time with her family, shopping, and hanging out at the beach.

Scott Meister, English Instructor

Scott Meister

Instructor

I was born and raised on the plains of Nebraska, and I love music, especially reggae and jazz. I spent many years in the music business as a radio air-talent, DJ, and producer. I’ve lived in New York City, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. I spent fourteen years in Japan where I ran an indies record label while also teaching English. I also ran a small B&B on Mt. Fuji with my wife for three years. I’m interested in sustainability, music, surfing, hiking, grilling, gardening, drinking beer, and enjoying life with my wife, daughter, and dog.

John Mussack, English Instructor

John Mussack

Instructor

John has a Master Degree in ESL from the University of Hawaii. He taught English in China for five years, and has taught ESL locally for about 14 years, besides being an elementary-school special-education teacher. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. In his free time, John paints portraits and landscapes, acts in plays, trains and competes as a “Master” (that is, senior citizen) track athlete, and reads novels. He likes the low pressure and personalized attention of Hawaii Palms English School, and he thinks you will, too.

Ian Washburn, English Teacher

Ian Washburn

Instructor

Ian is from San Francisco, California. He has an M.A. in psychology and a University of Cambridge CELTA certificate. He taught English in China, specializing in business and technical English for employees of multi-national organizations in Shanghai and Qingdao. He first came to Hawaii in 2010, to sail yachts back to California. He fell in love with Hawaii, especially because there are people from so many cultures. He enjoys teaching at HAWAII PALMS because the students of all ages are happy and eager to learn. He also finds that the other teachers and the staff are very helpful and friendly. He’s looking forward to seeing you in class!

Kenneth Loeber, English Teacher

Kenneth Loeber

Instructor

Ken grew up in Texas, studied and played soccer at the University of South Carolina, and ran a coffee house with his family in Colorado in the 1990s. He then was stationed in California with the Army as a linguist at Defense language Institute. After leaving the Army he returned to California for six years becoming coming to Hawaii in 2015. He loves to travel, read, look at the stars, study languages, and learn about different cultures. When he grows up he wants to be Lionel Messi.

Katlin Cilliers, English Instructor

Katlin Cilliers

Instructor

Katlin Cilliers was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. She has been teaching English as a Foreign Language to Brazilian and South American students for over nine years.

In 2015, she decided to move to Hawaii and is thrilled to have joined Palms English School. She loves its cultural diversity and fun atmosphere.

She holds a B.A in Languages (Portuguese, English and Literature) and has several teaching qualifications, CELTA among them. In her free time, she enjoys sports such as Cycling, Yoga and Running as well as studying and keeping In touch with friends and family in Brazil.

Robin Walsh, English Instructor

Robin Walsh

Instructor

Robin is from South Florida and attended the University of Florida, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1983. He has kicked boxes in logistics and filed paper as a paralegal. He farmed and fished in Florida, then trained as an EFL instructor in San Francisco. Since then, he has taught for 15 years in Japan and the Czech Republic before coming to Honolulu in 2016. Robin failed to master surfing in both Florida and on Maui and was a mediocre motorbiker, but he managed to attain the orange belt in Tae Kwon Do. Robin now prefers to read literature. Favorite writers are Dostoevski, Faulkner, Pynchon, and Heller.

Deborah_Flynn

Deborah (Helen) Flynn

Instructor

Deborah moved to Hawaii from Kentucky in the fall of 2016 to finish her B.SC in Geology. Teaching English at Hawaii Palms is her way of connecting people, sharing knowledge, and spreading Aloha. When Deborah isn’t teaching, she is soaking up the sun at the beach or on a hike!

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