ULS Governing Board Members

Denise Yoshimori-Yamamoto, Chair

Dr. Yoshimori-Yamamoto is the Director of Community Colleges Facilities and Environmental Health.  She holds both a Doctorate and Bachelor degree in Architecture from the University of Hawai‘i, School of Architecture and is a licensed architect in the state of Hawai‘i and Nevada.  She is a member of NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) and is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.   Denise has a child enrolled in the University Laboratory School.

Everett Ohta, Vice-Chair

Mr. Ohta joined the ULS Governing Board in 2016.  A 2001 graduate of the Lab School, Everett holds Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in Global Environmental Science and Economics and holds a Juris Doctor from the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa, with a certificate in environmental law.  He is an attorney for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and works as its Assistant Senior Legal Counsel.  Everett previously served on the boards of the ULS Foundation and the ULS Alumni Committee, as well as the William S. Richardson School of Law Alumni Association, serving as its President.

Preet Nijjar, Treasurer

Mrs. Nijjar serves as treasurer for the ULS Governing Board and is currently the Director of Finance & Operations for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Hawaii. She received her MBA from Newport University, CA with honors. For the last 17 years she has worked in finance starting from accounting assistant to accounting manager, business manager and CFO. Preet is also a member of Executive Women International (EWI) association which helps women achieve new highs in professional development and make new contacts in different industries.  She is a proud parent of two ULS students.

Edward Aquino, Secretary

Mr. Aquino is a 1992 graduate of the University Laboratory School and previously served as a board member and president for the University Laboratory School Alumni Association. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in English and Political Science and a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law. For almost 20 years, Edward has been employed as deputy for the State of Hawaii – Office of the Public Defender where he currently serves as a senior felony trial attorney.

Tina Keane

Mrs. Keane joined the ULS Governing Board in 2019. With over twenty years of experience as a Finance professional, Tina currently is an Investment Director with the Lili’uokalani Trust. Prior to that, her experience included 16 years of investment experience at Kamehameha Schools, a $12 billion endowment. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and a Master of Business Administration from Chaminade University. Tina is a parent of two sons currently enrolled at University Laboratory School.

Aaron Levine

Mr. Levine joined the ULS Governing Board in 2017. He is an Assistant Specialist in the Institute for Teacher Education, College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he serves as the Partnership and Placement Coordinator for the department’s teacher education programs. He has worked in the field of education for over 25 years in both public and private institutions at the elementary, middle, and post-secondary levels. Aaron has a child who attends ULS.

Melvina Nakao

Mrs. Nakao brings a diverse skill set gathered through 43 years of employment with Hawai‘i National Bank, where her duties ranged from planning and conducting training for employees, branch support, and customer servicing, to the planning and facilitating of various events, including the bank’s ABA “Teach Children to Save” program to public elementary school students,  as well as coordinating events like the bank’s Chinese New Year event giving educational presentations to public and private schools. She is currently the Branch Manager of their Kailua Branch. Melvina served for four years on the ULS Alumni Association Board, helping to plan the annual alumni events and fundraisers. Melvina’s eldest granddaughter, is also an alumnus of the University Laboratory School, class of 2010 having attended since kindergarten.  Melvina herself is a 1969 graduate of the Lab School having attended since age 4, then known as University High School.

Travis Palmeira

Mr. Palmeira joined the University Laboratory School Governing Board in 2019.  He is currently a Personnel Program Officer for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Human Resources Development.  His son is a current elementary student at the University Laboratory School.

Ishita Shah

Mrs. Shah joined the ULS Governing Board in 2021. Ishita is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Information Systems Auditor with over thirteen years of experience in internal audit and public accounting. She spent the last decade at the financial institution as an audit manager, prior to that, she was with a CPA firm providing auditing and assurance services to public and privately‐held companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Ishita is also active in the community and serves on Lotus Hawaii, a cultural organization, and ISACA Hawaii Chapter, the professional association focused on IT.

Kara Suzuka

Dr. Suzuka is a 1984 graduate of the University Laboratory School. She joined the ULS Governing Board in 2019. She has worked in the field of education for over 30 years, focusing on ways to support the professional learning of preservice and practicing teachers. Kara has taught at the elementary, middle school, and post-secondary levels. 

Miki Tomita

Dr. Tomita is the founder and CEO of Education Incubator, a Hawaiʻi-based non-profit focusing on social impact innovation and entrepreneurship programs for youth and professional development for educators.  She has over 20 years of experience in education as a teacher, researcher, curriculum developer, administrator, and academic, with much of her career spent at University Laboratory School.  Dr. Tomita holds a BSE in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and a PhD in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education from Stanford University.

Karyn Yoshioka

Ms. Yoshioka is currently the Payroll Supervisor for the University of Hawai‘i System.  In the past, she has served as the Fiscal Officer at CRDG and also served as a Personnel Officer for the John A Burns School of Medicine.  Based on her 27 years of experience with the University, Karyn brings to the ULS Board a great understanding of the uniqueness of the Lab School as well as its relationship to the University of Hawai‘i.  Karyn graduated with a Bachelors’ in Personnel Administration and a Masters’ in Public Administration.  She has served as a parent representative for the University Laboratory Local School Board and has served as the past Treasurer.  Karyn is a parent of 2 University Laboratory School graduates.