Naomi Rombaoa Tanaka

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Naomi Rombaoa TanakaNaomi Rombaoa Tanaka, MS

Position: Assistant Specialist

Affiliation: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Center on Disability Studies

Naomi holds a BS in Educational Studies/ Family and Community Services and an MS in Early Childhood/ Special Education from the University of Oregon. She also has a post masters Interdisciplinary Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies and is working on her PhD in Education with a focus on Learning Design and Technology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she is currently a faculty member at the Center on Disability Studies. Naomi is a 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Fellow for the Association of University Centers on Excellence in Disabilities (AUCD).

Naomi's recent work has focused on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports in early intervention. The Co- Principal Investigator/ Project Coordinator of the Hawaii Preschool Positive Engagement Project (HPPEP) and Hawaii Preschool First Step to Success, her projects aim to grow the strengths of educators, families, and students. Naomi is passionate about strengthening teams through technical as well as adaptive leadership. As a Facilitator for Ceeds of Peace, she aims to build strategic and thoughtful leadership skills in others to create safe and thriving homes, schools and communities. She is the author and illustrator of a self-published award winning children's book, Brighter, Brighter, Brighter!

Previously through the Student Equity Excellence and Diversity Program, Naomi partnered to start up place-based after school programs for Native Hawaiian students. A former elementary special education teacher in Hawaii, she has also worked with educators from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and American Samoa. She lived abroad in Osaka, Japan, teaching English in a web-based electronic classroom, which was progressive for its time in the early 2000's. Her love of cultures and technology continue to this day.


Family, culture and tradition, early childhood, educator professional development, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, Positive Psychology, peace studies, leadership and team building, technology, and lifelong learning.

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