Born and raised on Molokai in the Hawaiian Islands, Joan attended Kamehameha Schools during high school. She graduated from WWU with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a K-9 teaching certificate from Woodring College of Education. During her undergraduate years, she was actively involved in the Hui ‘o Hawai’i Club. After graduation, she taught in a cooperative preschool for four years. She also worked as an Executive Assistant for a community college President for about 12 years and later completed a Masters in Education in Student Personnel Administration. She has worked in SOS since 2003.