Nicknamed "Mr. Standards" by his principal and colleagues at Honowai Elementary School in Waipahu, teacher Leonard J. Villanueva has developed a program called Art All Day, Every Day, which allows students to meet state and national standards through art.
Villanueva is the author and illustrator of two best selling children's books, Kaipo & The Mighty `Ahi, a story designed to teach rhetorical devices, and The Hungry Pua`a and the Sweet Sweet Potato, inspired by Villanueva's experiences growing up in a family with twelve children. The latter received the Ka Palapala Po`okela Award for Excellence in Children's Illustrative or Photographic Books.
Villanueva has presented district workshops on strategies to help students develop their writing skills. He is the director of his school's chorus, Nā Leo o Palisades.
In 1987, he earned the College of Education Endowment Award from the University of Hawai`i.
Villanueva played the role of Giles André in Palikū Theatre's production of The Phantom of the Opera and Wilbur Turnblad in the musical Hairspray. He was honored for both roles with The Hawaii Theatre Council's Po`okela Award for Featured Male in a Musical.
When not in the classroom or on stage, Villanueva enjoys raising orchids. At the 80th Annual Honolulu Orchid Society Show, his Gur. bowringiana orchid received multiple awards: Best in Show (Benjamin Sr. & Florence Kodama Memorial Trophy), Best Flowering Specimen Plant (Dorothy T. Oka Memorial Trophy), and Honolulu Orchid Society Cultural Merit Award (Gur. bowringiana "Villanueva").
Leonard now teaches the first grade at his alma mater, Palisades Elementary School. Yes, the smells are as he remembered them.
1987 University of Hawaii - Manoa, B.A.