Wanted Arizona teacher arrested in Hawaii

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Deborah Hoshiyama By Jennifer Thomas Deborah Hoshiyama By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

HONOLULU (AP) -- A teacher wanted for allegedly having sex with a student in Arizona recently began teaching in a Hawaii public school.

Honolulu police and U.S. Marshals arrested Deborah Hoshiyama, 45, early Tuesday at a Waikiki condominium. She's also known as Deborah Nicholson.

She was wanted on a grand jury warrant issued by the Maricopa County Attorney's office on Oct. 20, the Marshals Service said. She's accused of having a sexual relationship with a student from 2007 to 2008 while a teacher in Avondale, Arizona.

Authorities in Arizona tracked her down to Honolulu, where she had been living for a month or two in the condo with a man believed to be her boyfriend and her two teenage children, said Nolan Sasaki, senior inspector with the Marshals Service Violent Offender Task Force.

She began working at Voyager Public Charter School in Honolulu as a special education teacher in kindergarten, first and second grades on Nov. 7, Principal Jeff Vilardi said. She worked at the school for six days - five with students present - and has been suspended with pay, he said.

Vilardi said he heard about the arrest from a staff member who saw a news story.

"I don't know her well enough," he said. "She was very impressive in her interviews and had fantastic references."

Vilardi said he checked three references and was under the impression the state Department of Education conducted a criminal background check. The department pays for and fills all special education positions, including at charter schools, Vilardi said.

Department spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said records show her application was still being processed. Dela Cruz said she's verifying whether the department cleared her to begin working at Voyager and what kinds of background checks were completed.

According to the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, Hoshiyama was licensed in the state from Oct. 1. Her license is for reading specialist, special education and teaching English to speakers of other languages for kindergarten through 12th grade.

She couldn't be reached for comment in police custody. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.


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