Four UH Mānoa College of Education (COE) faculty members are recipients of Hawaiʽi Education Association (HEA) Centennial Awards. Drs. Ronnie Tiffany-Kinder, Rayna Fujii, Shawna Ortogero, and Amber Makaiau, as well as Hanahau’oli School Professional Development Center Coordinator Veronica Kimi, received $25,000 in funding for their respective programs.
Assistant Specialists Tiffany-Kinder and Fujii were awarded $10,000 for their Hawaiʽi State Approved Educator Preparation Program. Selected for innovative practices they used to transition students during the pandemic, they are applying what they learned to strengthen their program.
“This award is such an honor because it shows that our programs are not only reaching the needs of future educators statewide, but tells us that our College of Education overall plays a critical role in supporting the future of Hawaiʻiʻs teachers and keiki,” Fujii said.
Fujii says their focus has been on how to maintain a rigorous and accessible program while also creatively engaging students to stay inspired on their journey to becoming great educators. They are currently working to create technology and curricular manipulative kits for students who reside on neighboring islands and have limited access to some of these resources.
Assistant Professor Ortogero received $5,000 for Model Code of Ethics for Educators (MCEE), a project to help prepare special education teachers to navigate the daily ethical dilemmas they face in the profession.
“This award could not have been made possible without the team of professionals in our COE SPED department,” Ortogero said. “Dr. Linda Oshita was instrumental in developing and implementing this project from the ground up, and our MUSE mentors – Cherrie Aiona, Nancy Gorman, and Steve Klein – facilitated the MCEE seminars for our SPED teacher candidates.”
Specialist Makaiau, who also serves as the Hanahau’oli School Professional Development Center (PDC) Director, and Kimi received $10,000 for the HEA Centennial Award for the Hawaiʽi School Team. The award recognizes the team’s innovative programs that support educators and school communities, particularly over the course of the pandemic, as the PDC stepped up to meet the needs of these communities amid widespread budget and personnel constraints.
“It is such an honor to be recognized by the Hawaiʽi Education Association,” Makaiau stated. “HEA stimulates innovation in education and provides professional development so that Hawaiʽi’s teachers can be the best that they can be. The Hanahau’oli PDC works to embody this same spirit and mission, so it means a lot to have a vote of confidence from HEA.”
With the award, the PDC plans to provide scholarships to educators, scholars, and researchers with financial need who would not otherwise be able to participate in PDC programing.
Since 1921, HEA has been a champion for the teaching profession, supporting the professional excellence of educators at all schools and all grade levels statewide. Award recipients will be recognized at the HEA Centennial Celebration on April 30, 2022 at Bishop Museum.