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Staff Spotlight: Lisa Brennan - College & Career Specialist at Aloha High School

You may not know who Lisa Brennan is, but if you’ve stepped foot in Aloha High School, you’ve seen her work. She is a College & Career Specialist at Aloha, but she’s also responsible for many of the bulletin boards and other vinyl decals that decorate the halls.

She stands next to a 7-foot-tall warrior cutout in the hall near the commons area. The cutout is based on Hawaii’s King Kamehameha the Great. “It’s one I’m probably most proud of,” says Lisa. “It took a long time to create and piece together.” He is surrounded by banners listing the names and future plans of Aloha’s 2018 graduates. The cutout and banners are a visual representation of Lisa’s work as a college and career specialist.

Originally hired to manage a grant in a temporary position, Lisa’s role eventually evolved into what it is today. She clearly loves her role helping Aloha students map out their future. “It’s exciting when students achieve their goal and they get accepted into a school, or they get a great financial aid package and they tell us how much we’ve helped them,” says Lisa. College application week is one of her favorite events of the year. “It’s a week that we just totally devote to helping them through college applications. It’s just a really exciting week because all of these kids apply and get instant admissions. It’s super fun!”

Lisa says the position is challenging, in that it always seems like there are so many students to support and not enough time. “Learning the college process is a lot like learning a foreign language. If you haven’t heard the terminology and you don’t have anybody in your family that understands, you are starting from ground zero,” says Lisa.

Says AHS Principal Matt Casteel, “You can’t go anywhere in this school, spend more than a few minutes talking with Warrior students and staff, or attend one of the many activities designed to help our students succeed without seeing Lisa’s work, hearing about Lisa’s impact or experiencing something Lisa helped to plan. She’s simply at the center of so much of what makes this place special.”