Jerusha Magalei has joined the BYU–Hawaii ohana as a new assistant professor for the Faculty of Education & Social Work. She has been an educator for more than 21 years. Jerusha began her teaching career in an early education program here in Koolauloa that served children (18 months to 3 years old) and their families at Punaluu, Hauula, and Kahuku. Jerusha later became a special education teacher for the Department of Education (DOE) in several schools on Oahu. She was a preschool teacher, a resource teacher (for English, math, social studies, and science in elementary schools), teacher in a fully self-contained class, IEP coordinator, and department head in Kahuku High & Intermediate School (KHIS).
Although Jerusha is new to her current position, she is not new to BYUH. After graduating from KHIS in 1992, Jerusha attended BYUH on a seminary scholarship. She said she was lucky enough to be taught by both of her parents while attending school. Her mother taught Maori language classes and her father was a history professor who later established the Jonathan Nāpela Center for Hawaiian & Pacific Studies and conceptualized, supported, and captained Iosepa, the university’s voyaging canoe. Later, in 2015-2016, Jerusha accepted a position as the Iosepa sail coordinator. She continues to work closely with Iosepa as a member of the Iosepa Council.
Jerusha graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Pacific Island studies in 1998. While at BYUH, Jerusha married her high school sweetheart, Pouli, Jr. in the Laie Hawaii Temple. They have four boys and live in Hauula.
Jerusha received her Master of Education with an emphasis in special education (cross-categories) from the University of Phoenix. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Hawaii Mānoa and will be receiving her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the School of Education this fall.
Jerusha was born in Kahuku. She was raised both in Hoolehua, Molokai, by her grandparents as well as Laie by her parents. She has traveled and lived all over the world. Because of her upbringing, Jerusha said she loves people and is fascinated by different cultures. She added she has a strong sense of appreciation for her indigeneity and deep gratitude for her ancestors and their faith. Jerusha loves to perpetuate her cultures, she said, through chant, song, and dance.