Our Ohana

Tami Nixon

Owner

Where did you go to school?

UCSB Montessori Teacher's Credential

Favorite Food?

Avocado and Peanut Butter, but not at the same time

Favorite Sport?

Swimming of course

Favorite Movie?

Jeremiah Johnson with Robert Redford or Romeo and Juliet

How long have you been working at Makai?

I opened Makai Swim School in 1989 at Exertec Fitness Center and Mt George Estates. Since then me and my staff have had the opportunity to now instruct hundred of students.

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

I love Pilates and stand up paddle boarding in the Hawaiian ocean! But mostly I like spending time with my family and my dogs. I have two Australian Shepards, Oshie who is 7 months and Marleau who is 4 years old. 

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

I miss my children when they were young. I would love to go back for a day and really treasure their sweet little faces, hugs and kisses. When raising your own children you think it will take forever for them to grow up, but the saying is true, “They grow up so fast!”. 

A fun fact about yourself

My family has been in Hawaii since 1901! This is the reason for the name of the swim school, Makai, which means in Hawaiian, towards the ocean.

Megan Minor

Operations Manager

Where did you go to school?

I graduated Pepperdine University in 2020 with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and a Minor in Marketing. 

Favorite Food?

I am a major foodie and have a huge sweet tooth for anything and everything cookies, chocolate, and ice cream. 

Favorite Sport?

Swimming has been my life for the past 16 years but my favorite sport to follow is Baseball. Go Giants!

Favorite Movie?

Not a movie but Grey's Anatomy and Friday Night Lights are my go to when I need to binge watch.

How long have you been working at Makai?

I started working at Makai in 2017 as an instructor and became the Operations Manager in 2018.

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

I am very family and friend oriented and love spending as much time as I can with them. I also love being outside whether it is hiking, going to the beach, playing sports, camping, etc. 

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

If I could be anything, I would be a full time traveler. I love to travel and explore new places. To be like The Bucket List Family would be a dream.

A fun fact about yourself.

I learned to swim when I was 2 and started swimming competitively when I was 7. I was extremely fortunate to continue my swimming career and swim Division I at Pepperdine University. 

Ashley Amundson

Camp Manager/Swim Instructor

Where did you go to school?

Oregon State University where I got my B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences

Favorite Food?

Crockpot chicken and noodles. So good after a long day in the pool!

Favorite Sport?

I love to swim (obviously) but college baseball is my favorite sport to follow.

Favorite Movie?

Winged Migration

How long have you been working at Makai?

9 years!

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

What do you mean outside of Makai? I live there! Just kidding, I spend a lot of time with my family and my dog, Rowdy. I also like to spend as much time as possible outdoors, whether it be gardening, walking, reading, bird watching, going to the beach, etc. 

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

Some sort of genius that can solve global trash and plastic waste issues. 

A fun fact about yourself

I bullet journal A LOT. It is a fun way to flex my artistic muscles and organize my life at the same time!

Maggie Martin

Swim Instructor

Where did you go to school?

Slidell High School in Slidell Louisiana

Favorite Food?

Ice cream and cookies

Favorite Sport?

Baseball

Favorite Movie?

Steele Magnolia

How long have you been working at Makai?

7 years

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

The beach, adventuring the country, and fun stuff

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

A swim instructor at Makai...it is the best job ever!

A fun fact about yourself.

I live for what I do. It brings me great joy and I learn so much from these wonderful beings I get to swim with. 

Ilenia Willmert

Swim Instructor

Where did you go to school?

I currently go to Vintage High School

Favorite Food?

Definitely Pizza!

Favorite Sport?

Dance

Favorite Movie?

The Breakfast Club

How long have you been working at Makai?

Since Fall, 2018

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

Editorial Photography

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

I do not know. I will see where life takes me. 

A fun fact about yourself

I will choose dark over milk chocolate any day. 

Hanna Strong

Swim Instructor

Where did you go to school?

Vintage High School

Favorite Food?

SUSHI!

Favorite Sport?

Baseball, hands down!

Favorite Movie?

Homeward bound...or goodfellas

How long have you been working at Makai?

Since 2019

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

You can find me on the weekends working at Lulu but I love spending as much time as possible with my fur son LaLo!

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

I would love to buy a huge ranch and adopt all the dogs, just run a rescue ranch and spend all day with puppies!

A fun fact about yourself.

I love to sing loud and off key, but I am actually a secretly great classical vocalist. 

Maria Teixeira

Camp Counselor/Swim Instructor

Where did you go to school?

I am a junior at Saint Mary's College of California.

Favorite Food?

Pizza!

Favorite Sport?

Soccer

Favorite Movie?

Love, Rosie

How long have you been working at Makai?

Since 2019

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

I love to sing and play the ukulele!

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

I would be a cat

A fun fact about yourself

I speak Portuguese! 

Grace King

Swim Instructor

Where did you go to school?

I am a Freshman at Cal Poly SLO

Favorite Food?

Ice cream, specifically from Ben & Jerry's

Favorite Sport?

Waterpolo or Basketball

Favorite Movie?

Good Will Hunting

How long have you been working at Makai?

Since 2019

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

I love to read and go to the beach

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

I would be a dolphin or a bird

A fun fact about yourself.

I love working with kids! 

Ema Miller

Open Swim Attendant

Where did you go to school?

I am a freshman at Biola University. 

Favorite Food?

Watermelon

Favorite Sport?

Volleyball

Favorite Movie?

Peanut Butter Falcon

How long have you been working at Makai?

Since July 2019

What do you like to do outside of working at Makai?

I love hanging out with friends, reading, and drawing

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

I would like being a traveler, so I could see the world and learn new things about other cultures.

A fun fact about yourself

My favorite color is green.