Board of Directors

Nancy Kanna, President

Nancy Kanna has a varied background in government relations, community outreach and engagement, communications, leadership, and sales and marketing. She has worked in the shrimp aquaculture and real estate industries.  She presently is the Interim Executive Director of the Kaua`i Economic Development Board. The Kaua‘i Community is her passion, and she sits on several Boards and Community Advisory groups including Growing Our Own Teachers on Kaua‘i, Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation, Hale Opio CP Hui, Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, Kaua‘i Police Activities League, Rotary Club of Poipu Beach and the Built Environment Task Force.  She mentors for the Youth of the Year Program for the Boys and Girls Club.

A Kaua‘i resident for the past 23 years, Nancy lives in Hanapepe with her husband Robert and son Keith.

Dorothy C. Sievert, Ph.D., Vice President

Dorothy Sievert (Dottie) earned a BA in Spanish from Purdue University, MA in Spanish Literature at Loyola University-Chicago, and a Ph.D in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Loyola University-Chicago. She began her career in education as a Spanish teacher in high schools in Denver, Colorado and in the Chicago suburbs.  She then joined the administrative team as a Dean of Students at Willowbrook High School, Associate Principal at York High School, and Principal at Crete-Monee High School and at Wheeling High School.

After her retirement from the Principalship in 2007, she taught at Concordia University and was a State of Illinois Mentor to new high school principals in the northwest suburbs. She has been a Rotarian since 2001 and attends meetings of the Poipu Beach Rotary Club and is a Past President of the Wheeling Rotary Club. Dottie resides in Koloa. with her husband, Pete. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

Rebecca K. Fries, Ed.D., Treasurer

Rebecca Fries

Rebecca K. Fries, Ed.D. is a retired educator of 34 years with experience as a school psychologist, elementary counselor, Coordinator of Diagnostic Services, and Director of Special Education for a school district and a Special Education Cooperative. She received her B.A. in education from Concordia University Chicago, her M.A. from The University of Iowa, and her Ed.D. from the University of Illinois. She has been a member of Rotary International since 1989 and is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Po’ipu Beach. She has also been a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an International Society of Women Educators since 1988, and is a member of the Eta Chapter here on Kauai. Rebecca is a member of The Mokihana Club, a Kauai Women’s Service Organization, was their Historian for 5 years, and currently is the chair of the Nursing Scholarship Committee. She has been a volunteer at the National Tropical Botanical Garden since 2010 and was last year’s nominee for the Older American Award. Rebecca is also a member of the Friends of Kauai Community College Committee. She is also a Site Leader for the NOAA Annual Whale Count on Kauai and spends her free time gardening and playing golf.

Elyse Litvack, Secretary

Elyse Litvack was born in Los Angeles, California. She has a BA in psychology from UC San Diego, a teaching certificate from the University of Washington, and a master’s degree from the University of Washington, Bothell, in elementary education with an emphasis on science. Elyse moved to Seattle in 1977 where she taught elementary school for thirty years, teaching mainly 2nd grade, 5th grade, and K-5 science. After spending summers in Kauai for many years she and her husband moved here in 2012. Elyse co-founded Kumu’s Cupboard, Kauai’s store where educators shop for no-cost classroom supplies. She currently serves as President of their Board of Directors. Elyse is also a volunteer environmental educator at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, facilitating and teaching 3rd graders for their “Albatross Life Cycle” program. She is currently President of The Mokihana Club, a women’s service club on Kauai, and serves as Secretary of the Jewish Community of Kauai Board. Elyse is a member of the Eta chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, an International Society of Women Educators. She is in the second year of co-chairing the logistic committee for the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association’s Charity Walk. She serves on the Patient and Family Advisory Council for Kauai Medical Clinic. Elyse enjoys cooking, baking, playing mahjong, traveling, and spending time with friends.

Monique Kan-Souza, Director

Monique Kan-Souza was born in Australia and raised on Oahu. She graduated with a BA in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa has lived on Kauai for 30+ years. She worked as an Advertising Account Executive for the Garden Island Newspaper and then as a stay-at-home Mom for 7 years. She began volunteering at Wilcox Elementary School when her youngest daughter was in Kindergarten and did the school’s Wilikoki Newsletter for several years. It was there that she found her second calling through substitute teaching, which she did for over 10 years. She went back to school to earn a BEd in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2014, through their distance learning program. She is now a tenured teacher at Wilcox Elementary School. She prides herself on teaching using GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) strategies that promote academic language and literacy for all students, especially English-language learners, as well as incorporating culturally-relevancy in her lessons. Monique was appointed to the board in 2015 and is also a GOOTOK Award recipient herself. She brings to the board a love of our island of Kauai, a life-long love of learning, a college student’s voice, and a dedication to the teaching profession.

Joseph Daisy, Director

Joseph Daisy became chancellor at Kauai Community College on February 3, 2020. He has more than 42 years of experience in secondary education as a teacher, vice-principal, principal, and in higher education.

Prior to his appointment at Kauaʻi CC, Daisy was president and CEO of the College of Micronesia-Federated States of Micronesia, a role in which he served from 2012. Before that, at Cambridge College in Massachusetts, he was executive vice president; vice president for college affairs and enrollment management; assistant vice president for policy, research and communications; and director of research and evaluation. Also at Cambridge College, Daisy was a senior faculty member in the School of Education’s graduate programs in education, leadership and research; and founding director of the doctor of education degree program.

Daisy has successfully addressed accreditation issues, facilitated the establishment of a 501(c)(3)foundation, and worked collaboratively to achieve student-centered learning. His professional and personal journey has led him to public, private, and nonprofit organizations, domestically and internationally.

He holds a doctorate in education in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a master of education in educational administration, and a bachelor of arts in history from Suffolk University.

Daisy noted, “I am pleased to have been selected to serve on the board of GOOTOK, and look forward to supporting its important mission to address the critical need for teachers on Kauai.”

Rose Ramos-Benzel, Director 

Rose Ramos-Benzel is passionate about three things: food, travel, and education. She believes life is a continuous process of learning, personal growth, and building lasting relationships. Every step of her journey has fueled her need for creativity, expanding her knowledge, and being of service. A self-starter, she has used her management skills to identify opportunities and trends in numerous marketplaces, often taking risks to fuel her passions to create new business opportunities and partnerships to support them. Various enterprises and management positions include the ownership of a Jazzercise franchise, a marketing company on Kauai, an award-winning gourmet food company, working for international magazines, a national art gallery retailer, a renowned sculptor, a nation-wide spa products business, and a higher education non-profit.

Upon joining the Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai Board, Rose commented, “I believe that teachers have one of the most important jobs in this world. They inspire change and empower students to be the best they can be. Education changes lives and teachers are an integral part of the journey. I am honored to join the Board of GOOTOK in supporting the next generation of teachers on Kauai.”

Rose earned her Bachelors Degree in Health Science from San Jose State University, and continues her commitment to health education and fitness with Piyo, running, and using natural products that balance her body and contribute to her well-being.

Nance Overton, Director

Nance Overton hails from California. She and her husband, Al, owned their home here for over 20 years.  After a few years in teaching, Nance built a successful 30-year career as a professional technical writer, working in the fields of construction, aerospace, and computer software.  She served as the Director of Education for the Sacramento Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (creating their annual technical writing competition for high school students) and she created an Employee Mentoring Program at the software company where she last worked in Northern California.

Since moving to Kauai, she has also served as volunteer Secretary on the Board of her Hula Halau, Papa Laua`e o Makana, and on the Board of the Kauai North Shore Community Foundation.