BEd in Elementary Education Student (Ka Malu O Kaiona Cohort)

Katie Ahern

“My greatest inspiration in the field of education is my grandmother Sakae Loo, a former teacher, principal, and Windward District Superintendent…”


Kāne‘ohe, HI


School of Teacher Education - Elementary

Related Degrees

  • BEd, Elementary Education

Where are you student teaching?
I am currently a student teacher in a third grade classroom at Mākaha Elementary School.

How did you become interested in the field of education? The Elementary Education Program?
I’ve always enjoyed teaching. From a young age, I remember playing “teacher” with my stuffed animals, solving math problems, and reading to my teddy bears. I began serving in Sunday school at my church throughout middle and high school and working with children in after-school and summer programs at the YMCA. These experiences helped me discover my passion for teaching, especially here in Hawaiʽi, which made applying to the Elementary Education Program an easy decision.

Do you participate in any clubs or organizations in or outside of school?
I teach kindergarten to second grade every week at Anchor Church. I teach about Jesus, facilitate games and craft activities, and build relationships with my students. In addition, I direct the annual summer kid’s camp at Anchor. I plan and implement a four-day vacation bible school for children in kindergarten to fourth grade.

How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE program has given me opportunities to experience what it is really like in the classroom. I’ve learned so much from my mentor teachers and my students. All of this has helped me feel more confident about my decision to pursue teaching.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
My greatest inspiration in the field of education is my grandmother Sakae Loo, a former teacher, principal, and Windward District Superintendent here in Hawaiʽi. She has cultivated my love of learning and teaching from my first years until now. Her stories of how she directly impacted her students’ lives showed me how a caring teacher could positively affect a child’s education and life. Her legacy inspired me to want to do the same.

What is your most memorable experience from being a part of the Ka Malu O Kaiona* cohort?
My most memorable experiences from being in the Ka Malu O Kaiona cohort are working and spending time with the ladies in my cohort. I feel like I’ve developed lifelong friendships that will help me through life’s ups and downs.

What are your future visions and goals?
I hope to teach at a school on the Windward side, so I can directly impact children growing up in my local area and give back to the community that poured so much into me. Later in my teaching career, I hope to pursue my master’s degree in Education Administration.

Anything else you would like to include about your student teaching placement on the Wai‘anae Coast?
I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to work at the schools on the Waiʽanae Coast. I truly enjoyed the community and getting to know the students and teachers. I’ve learned so much from each mentor teacher and group of students, and I will take that knowledge to every future teaching experience. The commute was really long, but it was all worth it!

*Ka Malu O Kaiona is a K-6 elementary cohort in the School of Teacher Education Elementary Program coordinated by Dr. Rosela Balinbin Santos. Based in Wai‘anae Coast partner schools with the goal of recruiting future teachers for and from Wai‘anae Coast communities, the program focuses on place-based learning, culturally relevant pedagogy, and community advocacy. Spring 2022 marks the second cohort of graduates from the Ka Malu O Kaiona.

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