Rosalee Osana Tela-Shoulders, who earned an MEd in curriculum studies (MSLMED) from the UH Mānoa College of Education (COE), is the 2017 U.S. Territories History Teacher of the Year. Selected by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Shoulders will receive history books and other educational materials for her school’s library as well as a $1,000 honorarium. She will be presented with the award at a ceremony in New York City on November 8, 2017 by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner.
“When I received the news, I was ecstatic,” Shoulders said. “I love teaching American history and government, and this recognition validates that I am doing something right with my students!”
A teacher and social studies department head at Nu‛uuli Vocational Technical High School in American Sāmoa, Shoulders was nominated by a colleague. The Gilder Lehrman Institute, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to K–12 American history education, then contacted her to submit lesson plans, proof of student work, and her resume. She was selected out of all of the U.S. territories.
Shoulders explained that she chose the COE for her master’s degree because it was the best program to meet her professional and personal needs.
“The COE provided great resources, methods, and skills that helped me pursue my goals as an educator in American Sāmoa,” she continued. “Drs. Deb Zuercher and Paul Deering, in particular, were relentless in their efforts to assist us with our coursework and pushed us to move forward with our studies in order to gain experience and new perspectives on teaching.”
Shoulders plans to enroll in a doctorate program in education and says she has her sights set on Territorial Teacher of the Year for the 2017–18 school year. “I will continually strive to gain experience and methods in leadership skills to one day be in an administrative position,” she concluded.