Teacher Charmaine Tavares: She Became a Maui Mayor

mayor_soc_cropped_164[1]Many talented educators earn recognition in fields other than education, and Hawaiian politician Charmaine Tavares is a perfect example of this. For fifteen years Charmaine was employed as a teacher, coach, counselor, and athletic director in public schools on Maui. She also served as the mayor of Maui from 2007 to 2011.

Charmaine was born in 1943 in the town of Hana, on the island of Maui. She is one of three children born to Hannibal and Harriet Tavares, and is descended from Japanese and Portuguese immigrants who settled in the islands. As a youngster, Charmaine attended Kaunoa Elementary School and Maul High School, but she graduated from St. Anthony High School. After she finished high school, she enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the flagship campus of the University of Hawaii system.  The campus is located in Manoa, an affluent neighborhood of Honolulu. There Charmaine earned her bachelor’s degree in education in 1967 and completed the requirements for her teaching credential in 1970.

Charmaine’s career in education spanned from 1967 to 1982, when she accepted a position as the program director of the Upward Bound program for Maui Community College. She worked in this capacity from 1983 to 1989. The hardworking teacher served as the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation for Maui County from 1989 to 1995. While there, she was instrumental in initiating the Pals program, an educational and recreational program for local children of working families.

The former educator was elected to the Maui County Council in 1996, and served on the Council until 2006. She was elected Mayor of Maui in 2006, and served in this capacity from 2007 to 2011, becoming well-known for her collaborative leadership style. While in office, Charmaine became an advocate for programs that supported economic growth, transportation, agriculture, and the elderly.

Charmaine Tavares, a true chalkboard champion.