Faculty & Staff

The people who teach and work at HELP come from a wide background of language use and experience. Our close affiliation with the renowned Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi makes us a solid choice for ESL/EFL learning, but it is our teachers and staff members that truly make us a unique institution. We simply think we have the best of the best!

Joel Weaver – Director

I was born and grew up in Kinshasa, Congo in central Africa. I came to Hawaii in 1986 to get my Master’s degree in teaching English, and have taught English at all levels in Africa, Micronesia, California, and Hawaii. I have been a teacher trainer, materials developer and language school administrator as well. Here at HELP, I am honored to lead a wonderful team of teachers and administrators who pour their hearts and minds into providing an absolutely incredible experience for all who come here to study. In my free time, I like spending time with my family and enjoying the ocean and other natural wonders of Hawaii. Come join us here in paradise–the most remote and most beautiful islands in the world. My staff and I are eager to give you the chance of a lifetime to learn English and store up golden memories to carry home!

Christine Guro – Assistant Director

I’m originally from Chicago, Illinois, but I’ve been living in Hawaii for more than 30 years so it’s definitely my home. During my years here, however, I spent time in Japan to teach English. When I returned, I got a Masters Degree in ESL from UHM. I enjoy all aspects of ESL as an instructor, teacher trainer and administrator. In my spare time, I like to read mystery novels, watch CSI on TV, and go to the movies (almost) every weekend. I hope you will come to Hawai‘i and discover a wonderful place that is different from anywhere on earth. The warm sun, the friendly people, and the unique nature make Oahu an island paradise. Of course, HELP is the best place to learn English with its great staff, talented teachers, energetic students, and a friendly atmosphere. Aloha!

Kimberly Imamura – Registrar & Front Office Manager

Aloha! I was born and raised here in sunny Hawaii on the Leeward side of Oahu. I graduated with a BBA in Human Resource Management from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a minor in Japanese. For three years, I was a participant on the JET program in snowy Nagano, Japan, where I taught English to Elementary and Jr. High school students. Upon returning to Hawaii, I received my Masters of Education in Educational Administration for Higher Education. Here in Hawaii, I love hiking, shopping, and karaoke. Where there’s snow, I love snowboarding, and at HELP, I love helping out students! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to drop by the Front Office and we will do our best to “HELP” you out.

Chris Folan – Housing Coordinator

Coming soon!

Sandra Iwamura – Service Learning Coordinator & Instructor

I was born and raised in Honolulu, HI. I graduated from the University of Hawaii and have a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies and TESL. After graduating from UH, I got a chance to work in Japan for 3 years, specifically in Saga Prefecture. It was a great experience to work in a foreign country! I’ve had many jobs in my life, but teaching English is the most rewarding because of all the great friendships I’ve made throughout the years! Sports is my passion, but I also enjoy doing yard work and eating! Running and soccer are my favorite things to do on the weekend! I’m proud to call Hawaii my home and would love to share it with you someday at HELP!

Grace Choi – Instructor

I am originally from Korea, and I have lived in Hawaii for 10 years. I got my MA in Second Language Studies with a specialization in second language acquisition in 2005 and the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Second Language Studies (AGC) in 2006 from UH. I have taught English at HELP since 2004, and I really feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful program. In my free time, I like to spend time with my family and go to different places of Hawaii. Hawaii is a perfect place to live and HELP is in the center of Hawaii. Please come join us and become a part of our HELP family.

Michael Bischoff – Instructor

Aloha! My hometown is Chicago, which is the third-largest city in the United States. It’s well-known for its extreme climate; the winters are very cold and the summers are very hot. Hawaii, on the other hand, is warm and pleasant all year! I enjoy travel, eating good food, enjoying the beautiful nature of Hawaii, and most of all I like to exercise and be fit. My favorite sport is triathlon, so you may see me swimming, bicycling, or running around the island! I came here in 2006 to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to get my bachelor’s degree, and after graduating in 2009 I moved to Japan for a one year to teach English. Teaching there was a wonderful experience, so I decided that I wanted to learn more about how to become a better teacher, and I got my master’s degree in second language studies. As a teacher at HELP, I love seeing my students succeed and reach their dreams. The rest of our teachers and staff are amazing and helpful people, so I hope that you will come join our wonderful ohana!

L G Michael Brown – Instructor

I started teaching at HELP in the summer of 2014. I have taught 100-400 level classes, including Grammar; Listening & Speaking &Notetaking; Reading, and a variety of other classes. I am originally from a small town called Menominee, located in northern Michigan. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio), a Master of Arts in TESOL from the University of Southern California (USC), and also a Doctorate of Education from USC where my dissertation focused on the predictive validity of the TOEFL exam. My research was conducted at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I am a Peer-editor for the Journal of International Students. I am a veteran of the U.S. Navy. I have lived in Europe and Asia and have traveled to more than 30 countries. I love learning languages, and teaching international students. I believe students need to be challenged, but they need to have fun while learning! By reading English materials, and noticing grammar structures while also learning new vocabulary words, as well as practicing speaking English, students will improve their basic communicative and academic English skills.

Front Office Staff

Luka Masuda / Emi Wakugawa / Miki Okuyama