The program was founded in 1993 and is now one of the most innovative programs in the nation
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As Executive Director for the Searider Productions Foundation, Candy Suiso oversees one of the most innovative creative media programs in the nation. She recently retired after 33 years with the Department of Education to focus her energy on fundraising initiatives for Waianae High School and other projects and programs in her community.
Suiso grew up in Makaha, graduated from Waianae High School in 1973, then received her BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Northern Iowa and Masters in Education from Chaminade University in Honolulu. In 1999, she received the National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation.
It was in 1987 that her teaching career started at Waianae High School as a Spanish and Social Studies teacher. Then in 1993, along with her colleague Norman Chock, the pair created Searider Productions. The video production program was housed in two classrooms, was made up of 85 students, had no air-conditioning, and only had six cameras and one edit bay.
“I loved my job as a teacher mainly because of the students,” Suiso says. “Teaching video production in the early 90’s was fun because it was something new and innovative in the schools. It was a great way for students to share their stories.”
Suiso also owns and operates the Makaha Mango Farm with her husband Mark. Makaha Mangoes is located in Makaha Valley and is home to over 70 mango trees and 12 different varieties. You can ﬁnd their mangoes at Whole Foods, Down to Earth Kapolei, Foodland and used in dishes at restaurants like MW Restaurant, Roy’s KoOlina, Sweet Creams in Pearlridge and Sweet Revenge.
She and her husband have been married for 38 years. Together, they have a daughter Mishan, son-in-law James, and three beautiful grandchildren: Nya (7) Knoxin (5) & Lennox (3).
“Currently, I sit on the board of directors for PBS Hawaii, Teach for America Hawaii, and the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center,” Suiso continues. “It’s so important to give back to the community that made me the person I am today.”