LAHAINA - Working hard to improve Lahainaluna High School in 2002, then-Principal Bruno Ariyoshi lamented to two new friends, recent retirees from California, that many entering freshmen were ill-prepared to take up high school studies. Lahainaluna was at the bottom in test scores and in serious trouble. Maybe they could help.
The couple turned out to be dream partners - dedicated, incredibly hard working and experts in curriculum planning.
Pat Endsley, now 75, born in Hilo with schooling at Whittier College and U.C. Berkeley, had retired from the Berkeley Unified School District. She had been a trainer of teachers and held such positions as director of curriculum and instruction, director of special education and director of testing and evaluation.
The Endsleys at home hold one of the many new curriculum binders Pat recently rewrote to keep up with new education standards. The rewrites took nine months.
Richard Endsley, now 84, from a small town in Washington State with a degree in curriculum planning from Stanford University and a master's degree from U.C. Berkley, had - like his wife - also spent his entire education career with the Berkeley schools teaching social studies and business law.
At Berkeley, they literally became internationally known. The country of Iceland, of all places, reached out to Pat as the author of a book on sophisticated curriculum planning concepts.
Over three months, the Endsleys spent considerable time consulting in Iceland, flying there twice and helping teachers from the University of Iceland who wanted to revamp the country's entire educational system. "They were really focused," Pat said.
The Endsleys married in 1992 - a second marriage for both - and vacationed in the islands for 15 years before retiring to Maui 13 years ago.
"We just loved it. In the back of our minds, we thought we would live here someday," Pat recalled.
They bought a house in Lahaina, and "we had an agreement that we didn't want to chair any committees, no more board meetings, just going to retire. But we couldn't sit," Pat said.
When recruited by Lahainaluna, the Endsleys knew they could put their teacher training expertise to work helping educators... or they could go the other way by working directly with students.
Launched in 2002, the Lahaina Complex After School Enrichment Tutoring Project began with 15 tutors and 50 students. Today, a whopping 290 students are served by 150 tutors, including 90 for grades three through eight. Tutors range from artists and business people to resort workers from The Ritz-Carlton, a nurse and even a doctor. One 89-year-old has been tutoring for 12 years.
The Endsleys write grant applications, recruit and train the tutors, write lesson plans, supervise volunteer coordinators for each grade, monitor student attendance and even troubleshoot when a bus does not show up.
Their triumph of hard work and expertise has not gone unnoticed, especially since some 80 to 90 percent of tutored students show improvement.
Among them, they have collected a bundle of awards, including commendations from the Hawaii State Legislature, Outstanding Older Americans of the Year by Maui County for 2013, Teacher of the Year, Educator of the Year, Hawaii DOE Outstanding Educator, Spirit of Lahaina Award and Maui Persons of the Year.
Next Week: Pat weeds sugar cane and Richard joins the Navy.
E-mail the columnist at norm@ mauicommunicators.com.