Our Team

Youth Development • Arts Education • Cultural Preservation • Community Building

Todd "Estria" Johnson

Co-Founder / Executive Director

Todd “Estria” Johnson has been spray painting for over 30 years, and is recognized around the world as an urban art living legend. As a pioneer in an arts movement that is arguably more influential than the classical renaissance, he is acknowledged as a valued historian, and a community leader who has helped to awaken the social and political consciousness of graffiti writing art.

Originally from Honolulu, Estria was active in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980’s during the “Golden Age Of Graffiti.” His graffiti art background has led him to produce innovative projects as an educator, entrepreneur, and social activist. From the city streets, to executive suites, Estria has worked with numerous non-profit organizations (Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center in San Francisco & Eastside Arts Alliance in Oakland), as well as high profile corporations. In 2007, he co-founded the “Estria Battle,” a nationwide urban art competition that honors and advances creativity in the Hip Hop arts. In 2010, he co-founded the Estria Foundation.


Tina Tagad

Operations Manager

Tina is the friendly smile that greets all our guests in our office and hālau. She handles all administrative and financial duties for our programming and office management.  All operational positions for the Mele Murals and Hālau Pāheona programs report to Tina.  Tina also manages all fundraising planning.

Tina has extensive experience in Business Management and Administration, with 15 years of experience in the Insurance Industry and 10 years in the Travel Industry

Michele Tanabe

Administrative Assistant

Michele has been working in elementary education for five years in the classroom and in administration. She graduated with a BA in marketing from the University of Hawai‘i and has worked in the hospitality and sales industry for 11 years. She is the administrative support for the Estria Foundation. 


Mike Bam Tyau

Project Manager / Muralist

Born and raised in Honolulu, Mike “Bam” Tyau currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, but returns often to Hawai‘i to teach mural and Hawaiian cultural classes for the Mele Murals program.

Mike project manages the marketing, web development, and new development projects for the Estria Foundation and is proud to be one of the art and cultural teachers that helped launch Hālau Pāheona at Kaimukī High School.

Luke Pomai DeKneef


Luke is a self taught artist who is originally from the former sugarcane plantation town of Waipahu. He has created fine art and participated in art competitions for over 18 years and his medium of choice is acrylic painting. Luke enjoys expanding his creativity through different artistic forms such as aerosol & charcoal. His love for nature and the ocean has truly amplified into vibrant tones throughout his work. When he is not painting, Luke is an active waterman, hiker, athlete and also finds the time to do volunteer work in his community. We are excited to have him lead and teach our haumāna in the Fall 2017 semester of Hālau Pāheona.

Cherisse Yamada

Curriculum Coach

Cherisse returns as a teacher this fall 2018 at Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary School. She has worked in education since 2002 in both public and private school settings. She has worked with the Estria Foundation to design and implement the curriculum for Hālau Pāheona and the Professional Development program for teachers. As a mother of two boys, Cherisse has a personal interest in working to strengthen the quality of education in Hawaiʻi.

Lacey Evans

Art Teacher

Lacey has been actively teaching since 2011. She has taught in Pennsylvania and Texas and is now our current Hālau Pāheona art teacher at Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary. Teaching children art has always been a passion of hers as she wants all children to reach for their full potential. She also wants children to engage in learning by discovering new skills that excite and motivate them. When Lacey is not teaching, she loves going on adventures with her family and her pet corgi. She also enjoys painting pet portraits and crocheting.

Zully Davila

Art Teacher

Zully is our Hālau Pāheona art teacher at Pālolo Elementary and also assists at Kaimuki High School. She is also currently finishing her BA in Art Education at BYU Hawaii. Zully was born in Chiclayo, Peru and grew up in Provo, Utah and now lives her dream in Laie.

Teaching has been something Zully has enjoyed doing throughout her life it began at the age of 7 when she would play “school” with her cousins just for fun. Being able to use her hands to create something that will help others feel a change is what Zully lives for. Aside from teaching & studying, she enjoys chasing waterfalls, hot Cheetos, and spending time with her family and dogs.

Tracy Desmond

Art Teacher

Tracy is an educator with a passion for the arts. After earning her master’s in education last year, she is now an assistant teacher for the Hālau Pāheona program. She believes that when students unlock their creativity, they have endless opportunities to learn and grow. When Tracy is not encouraging kids to use their imaginations she enjoys spending time with her family, swimming at the beach, reading mystery novels and writing.

Fundraising Cabinet

The Fundraising Cabinet is a volunteer group dedicated to supporting and growing The Estria Foundation’s programs and operations. This is a non-voting, non-paid, voluntary support role. If you would like to be be a part of this exciting movement, please leave a message on the CONTACT US page.

Senator Will Espero
Mihoko E. Ito
John Koga
Joyce Charles
Estria Miyashiro
Kristane Gaspar
Liann Ebesugawa

We Need

Your Help

Your tax-deductible financial contributions provide critically needed support of public arts and placemaking programs in Hawai‘i.

We Need Your Help

Provide Hawai‘i schools with qualified arts educators, cultural advisors and professional muralists to guide students through the Mele Murals process.

We Need Your Help

Provide students with essential art supplies.

We Need Your Help

Helps Hawai‘i communities share their cultural heritage through large-scale mural masterpieces.

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