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Tackling textbooks and more, Montero works for innovation and improvement at MHS

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By Risa Askerooth
[email protected]
MONtero

(Risa Askerooth | Trojan Times) Textbook Manager Debbie Montero was responsible for the new textbook system and ensured that each book was organized and accounted for.

Since transitioning to MHS in 1996 after working for the West Loch Estate development, Textbook Manager Debbie Montero has been a model of hard work and formulating new ideas. Her creativity and effort has resulted in a centralized textbook system, as well as other various initiatives, such as improving walkways around campus and coordinating First Fridays, which generates funding to further improve the school.

“She is amazing,” said Principal Fred Murphy. “She is such a quality-oriented person and is able to negotiate with companies to get a good price, find resources in the community, volunteers that can come and do labor for us or help us to get concrete or supplies at cheaper cost.”

After working in the custodial and special education departments, Montero applied for a position as an educational assistant. Then, in 2001, Montero worked as an assistant librarian, until her title was changed to textbook manager and “other,” which encompasses her role in the projects that she assists with and coordinates. “Mr. Murphy has a lot of ideas so he comes and he knows that if he lays the idea – he plants the seed – I’ll come up with a plan,” expressed Montero.

One such plan has been the centralized textbook system. When problems with accountability and inventory occurred with the previous system, Montero was an integral part in designing a new system. “We didn’t have to have teachers chasing down textbooks and other things or chase students for paperwork,” said Murphy. “It gives me great satisfaction to put things in order to help people have order within their classroom,” stated Montero. “I can appreciate having taking all this stuff out of closets and boxes and nobody knew where stuff was.”

Additional projects have included widening the golf cart path in the high-traffic area behind the gym, relocating and replacing the bike rack, getting rid of dangerous brush on the walkway and installing a peace pole. Integral parts of all these projects have been Industrial Arts teacher Jeff Cadiz and his classes, as well as the Hawaii Masons Union. “We are trying to formulate a plan to (widen) particular sidewalks so that you guys have room and those golf carts have room and the custodians aren’t left with trying to fix all these hard patches of dirt that we’re creating by running over and over,” stated Montero. Furthermore, Montero has assisted with the planning of Trojan Jumpstart and the Mililani Carnival.

Much of the funding for these projects has come from First Fridays, another of Montero’s successes. After visiting the food fest 2nd’s at Leilehua High School, Montero got in contact with many of the vendors and created the event First Fridays, beginning on March 6. “So we said, ‘Why don’t we go with First Fridays at Mililani High, right?’” said Murphy. “When I was still a band teacher we would always talk about ways we’d like to improve the school, just kind of dreaming. And so now we have a revenue source to make some of those dreams come true.”

With even greater resources to draw on for renovation and improvement around campus, Montero will continue to brighten the future of MHS.

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Tackling textbooks and more, Montero works for innovation and improvement at MHS