UH Mānoa College of Education (COE) alumni have been selected as 2020–2022 Hawai‘i State Teacher Fellows. Housed within Hawai‘i Department of Education’s (HIDOE) Leadership Institute, the program provides Fellows with peer and community engagement skills, tools to facilitate focus groups, communication and advocacy strategies, as well as opportunities to collaborate with stakeholders to elevate public education.
“The 21 rigorously selected Fellows, who teach in 12 HIDOE complex areas and public charter schools, represent some of Hawai‘iʻs most collaborative, positive, and solutions-oriented educators dedicated to elevating their profession and creating the best conditions for student learning,” stated Educational Specialist Kristen Brummel, who organizes the Hawai‘i State Teacher Fellows program.
Among the diverse group of public school teachers are eight COE alumni: Kevin Michael Agtarap, Ashley Mika Ito-Macion, Stacie Kaichi-Imamura, Erica Kaneshiro, Denise Karratti, Zachary Morita, Kristi Okura, and Cherisse Yamada.
Agtarap, a fourth grade teacher at Ka‘imiloa Elementary School, said, “My master’s program in curriculum studies helped me prepare for this role. The small cohort made it easy to connect with other teachers and to learn from each other’s experiences since we were already teachers at various schools on the Leeward side.”
“The COE prepared me for my eight-year teaching journey in many ways,” added Ito-Macion, a second grade teacher at Kanoelani Elementary School. “Most importantly, the experiences during my time as a teacher candidate while earning my BEd in Elementary Education provided me with a toolbox for making teaching impactful.”
The vision of the Hawai‘i State Teacher Fellows includes developing and implementing individual and collaborative projects to elevate public education; engaging in policy and advocacy training and work with community members and legislators; increasing teacher voice through publishing; and collaborating through social media, teacher-led professional development, and focus groups.
Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Curriculum Coach, Karratti, attributes her selection as a Fellow to her time in the Masters of Education in Teaching (MEdT) program. She said, “The MEdT program emphasized collaboration and encouraged us to leverage technology and participate in action research. Similarly, the Fellows is about lifting those we serve through working together and challenging ourselves to stretch beyond our comfort zones.”
Since 2014, the Fellows have been bringing their expertise and experiences to discussions with colleagues, Board of Education members, legislators, and leaders in the Department of Education, closing the gap between practitioner and policy.
“Being selected to be part of this program is truly an honor,” said Okura who teaches kindergarten at Kīpapa Elementary School. “I am excited to network with others to better our practices and advocate for each other. My MEd in Early Childhood Education, I feel, provided me with a foundation in policy and advocacy.”
Other COE alumni who are Fellows include, State Mathematics Resource Teacher Stacie Kaichi-Imamura, Ka‘ewai Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher Erica Kaneshiro, Niu Valley Middle School 6th–8th Grader Teacher Zachary Morita, and Kāne‘ohe Elementary School Academic Coach Cherisse Yamada.
Learn more about the Hawaiʻi State Teacher Program and the 2020-2022 Fellows at bit.ly/hawaiistateteachers.