The Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year is Catherine Caine who earned a professional diploma in elementary education and a master of education (MEd) degree in curriculum studies from the UH Mānoa College of Education (COE). Teachers of the year also included Central District winner, Jamie Takamura; Leeward District winner, Masaru Uchino; and Kauai District winner, Marly Madayag.
Caine is a National Board Certified teacher at Waikīkī Elementary School where she has taught for the past 24 years. With a career in education that spans more than three decades, Caine says retirement is not in her plans and that she is just getting started. She attributes the love and dedication she has to the field to her second graders who learn and share in a hands-on environment where connections to everyday life are an integral part of the lessons.
At the COE, Caine focused on pre-kindergarten through third grade during her master’s program as well as served as a mentor teacher. “The COE supported my career in several ways. There was a professional learning community atmosphere in which educational issues and trends were explored. I appreciated the way assignments were based on real-world classroom needs, and how the professors were very approachable and modeled a professional attitude.”
In addition to a $1,000 prize from the Polynesian Cultural Center, a one-year lease on a new Honda vehicle, and products from SMART Technologies, Caine will represent Hawaiʻi in the National Teacher of the Year Program. The winner is introduced by the President of the United States in April.
Takamura is the curriculum coordinator at Red Hill Elementary School where she also serves as the data team manager, Title I coordinator, and academic review team leader. She received her BEd in elementary education from the COE as part of the Ka Lama V cohort out of the Leeward Coast. “This program was a great pre-service teacher preparation program. I was well prepared to begin teaching when I graduated, and many of us from the cohort gained a lot of leadership skills and have become UH mentors,” Takamura said. She is currently the site coordinator of the college’s dual certification program at Red Hill.
Uchino, who earned an MEd in educational technology, oversees the math instruction for the third grade at Momilani Elementary School and is the founder of an afterschool running and fitness group. “My experience in the COE’s educational technology program helped me to get back to the ‘roots’ of education,” he said. “It was amazing to discover how degrees like mine can be applied to almost any industry that needs training or instructional design content. I would like to thank my instructors from the bottom of my heart for sharing their knowledge and passing on the passion for learning, which I try to emulate in my own classroom every day.”
Having graduated from three COE programs, Madayag holds a BEd in elementary education, a professional diploma in elementary education, and an MEd in educational foundations. Chair of the fifth grade at Kalāheo Elementary School, she is trained in special education and the gifted and talented program. She also directs a volunteer drama program has worked with the nonprofit Hawaiʻi Children’s Theater for 15 years.
Each of the District Teachers of the Year was awarded $500 from the Polynesian Cultural Center and classroom resources from SMART Technologies.