MEd in Educational Foundations

Marcie Waki

“Ultimately our goal is to help shape and inspire future teachers and instill the love of teaching.”


Kahului, Maui


Educational Foundations

Related Degrees

  • MEd, Educational Foundations: Educational Leadership

COEAA Spotlight on Marcie Waki

Growing Up

I was born and raised on Maui. Since 3rd grade I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I come from a family of educators (mother and brother). In my mom’s classroom, I’d pretend to be a teacher, writing on the chalkboard, passing out papers, creating activities, etc. I thought it would be fun to work with children all day and shape the future. As I got older, I always helped my mom grade math papers. The fun of grading papers and seeing her teach math inspired me to become a mathematics teacher.

My first job was a recreation leader for the Maui County Summer PALS. I was thrilled because I led a 2nd grade group, and I had the opportunity to put my skills to the test. I could plan and implement activities that incorporated academics, creativity, and fun for all. I enjoyed it and knew my passion was in education.

College Years

When I went to college at the University of Northern Colorado, my math professor in my freshman year inspired me to major in secondary education mathematics. I pursued my degree and came back to Maui to do my student teaching at my alma mater, Baldwin High School. I was fortunate to immediately get offered a teaching position there.

A few years later, I decided to pursue my master’s degree from the COE in Educational Foundations & Leadership (2003). It was a wonderful experience to collaborate with colleagues from different backgrounds and levels. The shared experiences and teaching from the UH professors helped me see education from a positively different perspective.

History as an Educator

I’ve been an educator for 21.5 years. I taught at Baldwin High School for 1.5 years. As I was pursuing my master’s degree, I moved to Oʻahu and worked full time at Mililani High School as a mathematics teacher (17 years). I served several roles as a PLC leader, mentor for new teachers, and advisor for extra-curricular clubs. I reached a point in my career where I needed a change. I worked for the Windward District as a K–12 math resource teacher. I was a member of the Windward District Academic Integration Team. I loved my position, learning about the K–12 construct and spectrum of mathematics. I was able to collaborate with schools, administrators, and district and state personnel. I had the opportunity to do cross-curricular work in the areas of science, CTE, and PBL. I researched the latest educational philosophies, innovations, and teaching strategies to create professional development courses for teachers.

Due to family circumstances, I returned back to Mililani High School serving various roles. Currently, I teach math courses as well as inspire future teachers of the Education Career Pathway (Foundations of Education and Teaching as a Profession 1 courses). I really enjoy teaching students the knowledge and skills of being an educator as well as giving them PreK–12 hands-on experiences with students and teachers. I am also the advisory coordinator for our Student Led Advisory (SLA) leadership students who teach advisory lessons to freshman advisory classes. I enjoy helping students to use their strengths and develop a passion to teach.

Mililani High School Teacher Academy

My experiences in the classroom and at district level have helped me to develop the SLA and MHS Education Career Pathway programs. Through these programs, we hope to build our teacher program. Ultimately our goal is to help shape and inspire future teachers and instill the love of teaching.

With the shortage of teachers and substitutes across Hawaiʻi, another goal of the MHS Education Career Pathway is to build capacity and encourage more students to enter the education career field. We give our students PreK–12 field experience throughout the school year, leveling them up to work based learning opportunities in their last year of the program. Our goal is to not only give our future teachers the foundations of education, but to also prepare them for the teaching profession. With the changes in the DOE and substitute qualifications, along with the partnership with University of Hawaiʻi, it is our hope to open the doors for our students for post-high school opportunities, such as being able to obtain their substitute licensure and/or enter the College of Education program after high school. We strive to keep our students in Hawaiʻi so they return to our schools and teach our future keiki.

Ultimate Fitness Challenge (UFC)

Ever since I was 10 years old, I’ve always placed health and fitness at the top of my priorities. My motivation to be fit comes from knowing I need to balance my life and take care of myself in order for me to function well. Being physically active whether it’s in the gym, running, surfing, or playing soccer relieves my stress and gives me energy and a positive start to my day. Fitness has always been my passion and taught me grit, discipline, hard work, and determination. Everything I do is centered around those four qualities and is a game changer towards the outlook of life and how I do my job as a mother and educator.

I decided to compete in UFC competitions to challenge myself, as well as show my children, students, and colleagues anything is possible when you set your mind and heart to it. At the age of 42, who would’ve thought I’d win the UFC Hawaiʻi Regional Competition and place 5th in Nationals against 20-year-olds? I try to instill positivity and motivate my students to seek their passion and keep moving forward even through obstacles.

Three Fun Facts

1. I have 3 children, ages 11, 13, and 15.
2. My favorite countries are Japan and Dubai.
3. I love to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.


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