Dr. Thomas Jackson (“Dr. J”) has been a member of the p4c Hawai`i family since 1984. He received his PhD in Comparative Philosophy from the University of Hawai’i in 1979. In 1980 he became a co-founder of the Hawai’i International Film Festival. In1984 he discovered “Philosophy for Children” (P4C) and spent three weeks at a workshop at Montclair State University in New Jersey with other scholars from around the world. There he learned from P4C’s creator, Matthew Lipman, an inspiring approach to working with children, a provocative new way of thinking about philosophy and an exciting development in education.Since 1984 he has been passionately committed to the development of p4c in Hawai`i and around the world. In 1987 he became a full time Specialist with the Department of Philosophy, UH Manoa and Director of the Philosophy in the Schools Project, a joint effort between the Department of Philosophy and the Hawai’i Department of Education. For 15 years the DOE funded philosophy department graduate students who worked in public school classrooms throughout the state of Hawai’i, assisting teachers in developing intellectually safe classroom communities of inquiry. The Philosophy in the Schools Project has been supplanted by the new p4c Hawai’i Center which is better able to handle the continued growth and demand for p4c.Dr. J works in classrooms with teachers and their students, regularly offers courses in p4c both on and off the UH Manoa campus, serves on dissertation committees of students engaged in research on p4c in both the College of Arts & Humanities and in the College of Education in Hawai’i and students who come from abroad to study the p4c Hawai’i approach. Dr. J has been a conference and workshop presenter and keynote speaker locally, nationally, and internationally in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Austria and Israel.


      Dr. Benjamin Lukey is the Associate Director of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. He has been part of the p4c Hawai‘i family since 2000. While completing a Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, he facilitated p4c inquiries and worked with many excellent teachers at Waikiki Elementary, Hokulani Elementary, Wai‘au Elementary and Ala Wai Elementary. Dr. Lukey also spent two years facilitating p4c at Loveland Academy, working with children with autism and other developmental disorders. Since 2007, Dr. Lukey has served as the Philosopher in Residence at Kailua High School, working with English and Ethnic Studies teachers to integrate p4c Hawaii into their curricula. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Lukey serves as Philosopher in Residence at Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School, and continues to support p4c Hawaii teachers and students at Waikiki School and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


        Dr. Amber Strong Makaiau is currently the Director of Curriculum and Research at the University of Hawai‘i Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. Dr. Makaiau graduated with BA in Psychology and Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1999. Deeply affected by her undergraduate fieldwork in California’s public schools Dr. Makaiau returned home to Hawaii to cultivate a teaching practice emphasizing social justice, multicultural, culturally responsive, and student-centered approaches to education. While working on her Masters in Education and Teaching from the University of Hawai’i, Dr. Makaiau was introduced to p4c Hawaii by Dr. Thomas Jackson.

        Attracted to the way in which the p4c strategies effectively translated her theoretical beliefs about education into actual classroom practices, Dr. Makaiau spent the next ten years teaching and researching the impact of p4c Hawaii in her position as a HI DOE secondary social studies classroom teacher. p4c Hawaii proved to be an extremely successful approach to teaching and learning for Dr. Makaiau and her students. Her students consistently scored well on national achievement tests, and reported enjoying learning in her classes. In recognition of their combined accomplishments Dr. Makaiau achieved National Board Certification in 2006, the Hawaii International Education Week, Honolulu Advertiser 2004 Outstanding Global Educator Award, the Oceanic Outstanding Educator Award in 2005, and the 2011 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching. In 2010 Dr. Makaiau completed her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. Her current projects include a designing and researching a brand new Philosophical Inquiry course, and a High School Legislative Internship Program. Dr. Makaiau continues to present her work locally, at international and national conferences, write, and advocate for the betterment of education in Hawaii and beyond.


          Dr. Chad Miller is the 2012 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year, a National Board Certified teacher, and current Director of Teacher Development at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. In this role, Chad collaborates with teachers and helps them incorporate the activity of philosophy into their classroom practice. He leads workshops, presents at conferences, teaches classes, and serves as the Philosopher in Residence at Kailua High School where he participates in philosophical inquiries with students and teachers.

          Dr. Miller received his BA in philosophy from John Carroll University and PhD in education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His dissertation, Philosophy Goes To High School; An Inquiry into the Philosopher’s Pedagogy, examines philosophy’s absence from the American high school experience, provides a pedagogical framework to bring philosophy into our subject-centered classrooms, and analyzes the student experience when philosophy is used as an approach to teaching. Chad continues to present the findings of his work concerning philosophy’s application to classroom instruction at numerous domestic and international academic conferences.


            Dr. Mitsuyo Toyoda has been part of the p4c Hawai’i family since 2004. After completing her Masters in Philosophy at the University of Hawai’i in 2006, Mitsuyo worked on her Doctorate at Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan until 2009. The focus of her research has been incorporating p4c ideas and methods into public environmental decision-making. Dr. Toyoda also coordinates the p4c Japan-Hawai’i Exchange Program in collaboration with the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education. This program, which has been held twice a year in summer since 2006, provides wonderful opportunities for schoolteachers from Japan and Hawai’i to experience the cultural diversity in education and to learn deeply about p4c Hawai’i activities. Dr. Toyoda is currently teaching environmental education at the University of Hyogo in Japan.

            DR. THOMAS YOS

              Dr. Thomas “Toby” Yos is a part-time Assistant Specialist at the Uehiro Academy. His primary focus is on designing and coordinating Academy outreach programs. He is also a philosopher-in-residence at Waikiki Elementary School. Situation in the school’s counseling department, Dr. Yos incorporates philosophy for children Hawai’i (p4cHI) into a variety of mentoring initiatives.

              Dr. Yos received his Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. His dissertation, entitled “Educating for Good Judgment,” was the first in the Philosophy Department to concentrate on p4cHI. Dr. Yos began his work with p4cHI in 1991 and has, over the course of the past decades, done p4cHI with thousands of students in a broad variety of schools and settings.