GENEVA ESGUERRA (Interim Program Director/Technical Theatre Instructor) is honored to be the new CTAA Drama Program Director for the 2022-2023 season. A CTAA alumni, she has been an instructor since 2007 with a brief hiatus in the 2014-15 season. She studied theatre at Leeward Community College and achieved her Bachelors Degree from Chaminade University. Geneva has been involved in the construction and production of various shows across the Island including Tony and Tina’s Wedding (MVT), Little Shop of Horrors (MVT), It’s A Wonderful Life (MVT), The Importance of Being Earnest (HPU), and Alice In Wonderland (DITR).

On Leave – CAROLYN TAIRA (Program Director) Cari Taira is the Director of Central Theatre Academy of Arts.  She is also a Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director and resident stage director for Ohana Arts.  She was born and raised in Mililani, Hawaii, where her passion for theatre began at Kipapa Elementary School with inspirational teacher, Mrs. Yvonne Toma. She attended Mililani High School, and went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama from the University of Portland. Her principle instructors were acting professors Ed Bowen and Mindy Logan, and voice processor Jill Sotero. She has performed in productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sweet Charity, The House of Bernarda Alba, The Crucible, and The Wiz.  After spending 9 years as the director and program coordinator of the Hongwanji Mission School drama program, and 2 years at Pacific Buddhist Academy, she is excited to be back at Mililani High School.  Some of her directing credits include Peace On Your Wings, Seussical Jr., Peter Pan Jr., Annie Jr., Little Shop of Horrors, Hairspray, Footloose, Oliver, The Wizard of Oz, Once On this Island Jr., and Little Mermaid Jr.

KENJI SANEHIRA (Assistant Set Instructor) is excited to be the Set Assistant for this year’s productions at CTAA. He is a CTAA alumni with six years of backstage theatre experience. He is currently studying computer science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His previous theatre credits include being a light board operation in James and the Giant Peach (CTAA), sound effects and projections in both RENT (CTAA) and Beauty and the Beast (CTAA). He was an ensemble member of Miss Saigon (OA), stage manager for Once on this Island (CTAA), and Newsies (OA), and is currently stage managing Ohana Art’s 2022-2023 production of Peace on Your Wings. He is ecstatic to work with CTAA again and is excited to see and meet the new faces of the program.

AMBER LEHUA BAKER (Costume Instructor) is so excited for her second year teaching at her alma mater. After getting her degree in theatre with a focus in costuming at UH Mānoa, Amber worked professionally in Seattle in a variety of roles. She designed multiple shows at Annex Theatre, worked as a stitcher at the regional Village Theatre, and was the wardrobe supervisor for The Producers at Seattle Musical Theatre. Last summer she was the costume shop manager for ‘Ohana Arts. She is currently the costume supervisor and shop manager at Manoa Valley Theatre.

JAYDEN HONG (Light Instructor) is a returning alumni of both Mililani High School and CTAA, graduating in the class of 2020. Through his years in theater, he has specialized in lights but has experience working in set, sound, and even some as a stage manager. His former works include numerous student directed shows (CTAA), Beauty and the Beast (CTAA), Other: A Micro Story (Kumu Kahua), and Once on this Island (CTAA) which was taken on tour to perform at Palace Theatre in Hilo. He’d like to thank all of CTAA for allowing him to be a part of the program for the past five years, and looks forward to working with them in the years to come.

TOBY FUJIHARA (Sound Instructor) is a 1st year play production instructor at Mililani High School. He has been in the live sound industry for about 20 years, and has also been involved with many different aspects of music as well. He is very excited to be a part of the Legally Blonde Jr. play, and hopes to help make it a most successful and entertaining experience doing his part as Sound Instructor.

SHANNON NAKATA (Choreographer) began dancing in 1989 at DanceWorks, under the direction of Simeon Den and Marie Takazawa.  Shannon has performed with DanceWorks, Big City Productions, SLAM Dance Company, and Dance Central.  She has also been a cast/crew member in Lisa Matsumoto’s  The Princess and the Iso Peanut, the Once Upon One Time trilogy, and The Christmas Gift of Aloha. She graduated from the University of Hawai’i with a degree in elementary education, and currently works at Kipapa Elementary as the performing arts assistant. She also teaches and choreographs for Leeward YMCA’s Dance Central, The Paliku Academy of Performing Arts, and The Movement Center.

ELIZABETH BAKER (Vocal Director) is thrilled to return to her alma mater with the program that cultivated her love for the performing arts. She spends her days as the Choir Director of ʻIlima Intermediate School. If you remember the time when CTAA shows were held in the MHS Cafeteria, you may recognize Elizabeth from some of her favorite credits including Mary Poppins (Mary), Little Shop of Horrors (Roxie), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia). Elizabeth graduated with her B.Ed. in Secondary Music Education (Choral) from UH Mānoa. Professionally, she serves the Western Region of the American Choral Directors Association as the Communications Coordinator, is an active member of both the Hawaiʻi Music Educators Association and the National Association for Music Education, and sings with Nā Wai Chamber Choir.