Melinda Caroll, Founder/CEO
Professional singer/ songwriter since the age of 18, Melinda has enjoyed a 35+ year career as a performer, a National Song-leader for Girl Scouts of the USA and a 5-Rhythms Dance teacher.
- Melinda’s broad experiences as team-leader, event-organizer and collaborator for 100ʻs of events and workshops across the United States and around the world, has provided a unique skill-set and insight into community engagement. Combined with a deep passion for the environment and arts in the schools and communities, Melinda encourages artists, both young and old, to embrace their talents and think creatively as they tackle difficult challenges in life.
- As a Record Label Founder/President of Legend Productions Inc., a licensed vendor of Girl Scouts of the USA, Melinda has written, recorded and produced over a thousand songs and published dozens of songbooks. She has performed in hundreds of concerts and facilitated world-wide song-writing and song leading workshops since 1998.
- Melinda loves sharing her passion for music and songwriting with children and adults world-wide. Since 2017, she has been working as a teaching artist guiding students in writing their own creative songs. She then records and produces the songs in a professional format.
A Hawai’i resident and life-long student of the Hawaiian culture, she believes in the ARTS as a catalyst for positive social and environmental change. When We Shine Foundation was born from that commitment. For more, visit her website, MelindaCarollMusic.com.
Susana Browne, Board President
Susana worked as the Education Director at Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC) from 1998-2016. Representing MACC in the Kennedy Center Partner’s in Education program, she worked statewide and nationally to promote arts education, provide professional development for teachers and teaching artists, and research the impact of an arts education on children. Susana has extensive experience in planning, implementing, and evaluating multi-day arts integrated professional development opportunities. She has written multiple grants and managed complex budgets, and has experience working closely with others on educational projects.
- Susana was on the planning committee for Pomaika‘i Elementary School on Maui, the only fully arts integrated public school in Hawai’i. She continued working with teachers at Pomaika’i in her role as the Maui field supervisor for the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa’s Statewide Elementary Education program. (2015-2022)
- In 2018, Susana became a commissioner for the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. She is also on the board of directors of Adaptations Dance Theater and Chair of the Board of When We Shine Foundation.
Rae Takemoto, Creative Program Director
Arts Integration Specialist, Literacy Coordinator and Coach for teachers, administrators, and teaching artists, Rae has over 36 years of teaching and coaching experience. She has an impressive history of building and sustaining arts integration programs in schools. Her 20 years as part of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts program “Partners in Education,” provided opportunities for Rae to learn about and research the impact of the arts in education.
- In 2007 Rae was on the leadership committee to plan and open the first fully arts integrated public school in Hawai’i, Pomaika’i Elementary School on Maui. Since then she has worked closely with the staff, students, national and local teaching artists to sustain the high quality education at Pomaika’i.
- In 2016 Rae launched and co-developed the Turnaround Arts Hawai’i Initiative, a program developed by Michelle Obama, that transforms underserved schools through the arts, in 3 locations on Oahu.
- She has offered her skills in Organizational Leadership Coaching, Program Development, Curriculum Development & Instructional Coaching, Vision Coaching and Literacy, to schools statewide, as well as to nonprofit and for profit community organizations.
- Since 2017 Rae has worked closely with Melinda Caroll and Shelley Toon Lindberg in planning, facilitating, and evaluating the arts integrated residencies at eight schools on Maui.
Shelley Toon Lindberg, Visual and Media Arts Director
Based in Hood River, Oregon, Shelley teaches visual and media arts to K-12 children and adults and provides professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers and teaching artists in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.
She provides in-school residencies and community-based workshops in drawing, watercolor, stop-motion animation, printmaking and, natural dyes with a focus on place-based environmental and culturally responsive instruction, as well as indigenous language preservation and healing centered engagement.
Shelley has developed over 35 Summer Arts Institutes for teachers and teaching artists.
- She founded Arts in Education of the Gorge’s Art @ the Center, a Summer Arts Institutes in Hood River, Oregon, running 17 consecutive years
- She has been the lead instructor in Alaska Arts Education Consortium’s Summer Teacher Arts Institutes for 10 years, developing 4 credit graduate level courses through the University of Alaska.
- Shelley regularly develops workshops for K12 school districts, higher education, art centers, native corporations, museums, and nonprofit organizations.
- Notable Digital storytelling (stop-motion animation) projects include:
SHI Voices on the Land, KYUK Yup’ik Word of the Week, WWS Voices of the Earth, AIEG’s Voices from the Land.
Visit https://vimeo.com/artsined to view examples of stop-motion animation projects.
- Shelley has worked extensively with schools, museums, and universities in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii. She has been on the staff of When We Shine since it began in 2017.
For more of Shelley's Art, go to Arts Education of the Gorge Videos.
Donelle Sakuma, Hawaiian Cultural and Education Advisor
Donelle was born and raised on Maui with ʻohana, from the Uplands to Lahaina, the mountains to the sea. Her love for the ocean and as well as the high elevations inspires her understanding of how everything is connected, mauka to makai. This understanding, along with a kuleana, a responsibility to mālama, to take care of this ʻāina, is deeply rooted within Donelleʻs teaching and cultural understanding.
Her passion and years as a student of Hula, oli, and ʻōlelo (Hawaiian dance, chant and language), Donelleʻs love for cultural connection is brought into every class she teaches and woven into the lessons and class study with her haumāna, her students. Her dream is that every school and classroom in Hawaiʻiʻs public school system incorporate these cultural components, values and connections.
A 4th grade teacher at Pōmaikaʻi Elementary for 13 years, Donelle trained and taught arts integration methods throughout that time. For the last 3 years she has been teaching at Iao Middle School. When We Shine Foundation is proud to be working with this talented arts integration teacher and Hawaiian Cultural Education advocate!
Lily Diamond, Written Arts and Social Media Advisor
Lily Diamond is a writer and advocate harnessing the power of digital media to democratize wellness and empower women through storytelling, accessible practices for inner and outer nourishment, and revolutionary acts of self-care within our earth and human communities. She is the creator of internationally beloved blog Kale & Caramel and author of bestselling memoir-cookbook Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table, celebrated as one of the top cookbooks of 2017 by the New York Times, The Independent, Cooking Light, mindbodygreen, and more.
Lily’s writing has been featured in VICE, Healthyish, the Huffington Post, Refinery29, and more. Her work is informed by two decades of study, certification, and teaching in the art and practice of meditation and psychosomatic therapies. She is a devoted co-conspirator to organizations decolonizing food and wellness for all. Lily was educated at Yale University and lives in Maui, Hawai‘i, where she grew up, on occupied native Hawaiian land.
Check out Lilyʻs latest book, co-authored with Rebecca Walker! A Journal For Everyday Evolution, released on December 8, 2020 from Sounds True, transformational writing prompts for personal and global change, Whatʻs Your Story?
David Kauahikaua, Board Vice-President
David Kauahikaua serves as Vice-President of When We Shine. He brings a rich and experienced background as a producer/arranger/engineer/keyboard player who has been involved in the recording industry in Hawaii since the early 80’s. One of the first in Hawaiʻi to use computers to enhance music production. David has worked as a musical director for numerous well- known Hawaiian performers and musicians including Don Ho, Loyal Garner, Frank De Lima.
Besides co-producing, engineering and arranging every music project since When We Shine began, David works with many local musicians and performers and organizations.
In September of 2019, David arranged and scored the music for the Honolulu Symphony in a 90 minute concert that featured many well-known local entertainers paying tribute to the music of Queen Lili'uokalani.
He was honored with the 2017 Nā Hōkū Hanohano award for “Engineering / General Category” and his original composition “Kailua Rain” was a final ballot nominee for “Instrumental of the Year” in 2018. He was awarded “Outstanding Arranger” in the 1981 First Hawaiian Music competition for his orchestral arrangement of Loyal Garner’s “I Donʻt Want to Go Away.”
David and Melinda Caroll have produced over fifty music projects and albums together, including sixteen albums for Girl Scouts of the USA, plus they have co-produced numerous other children’s original music, including Songs for Change in 2018 and Keiki Songs for Change, 2019. Currently, David helps people realize their musical visions through programming, arranging and producing their songs. Check out his discography.
Reneʻ Ruch, Board Secretary/Treasurer
Born in Switzerland, Reneʻ has resided the last 30 years in Hawaiʻi on the beautiful island of Maui, about 4,000 feet up Haleakala. He has been a practicing Tax Accountant, Tax Preparer and an Enrolled Agent for the last 20 years and continues actively with his profession.
Reneʻ is an avid enthusiast of The Arts and arts education. He believes in the long-term benefits of arts integration in our schools as an innovative way to support childrenʻs creative problem solving and emotional and social well-being. He understands the benefits that spread out and into families and our island communities. Reneʻ is an enthusiastic supporter of When We Shine Foundationʻs work in these areas and happily shares his experience and expertise!
Christa Ochocki, Admin Support
Christa is an avid crocheter, yogi and passionate advocate for making our world a better place. She works as an IT Specialist for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, even when sheʻs traveling to her favorite places around the world! At When We Shine, she provides invaluable behind the scenes admin support with her technical expertise, organizing abilities and unique skill set!
Check out her website!