PBCTE in Secondary Education and Grow Our Own Recipient

Dwayne Sakaguchi

“My vision in life is always to have and produce great thinkers and reflectors. I want all of my students to walk out of my class with the ability to make smart choices and think about everything that comes with the choices they make.”


ʽAiea, HI


School of Teacher Education - Secondary

Related Degrees

  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Secondary Education (PBCTE, Secondary)

Dwayne Sakaguchi performs in the Diamond Head Theater production of Waitress, opening Friday 5/27/2022.

How did you become interested in the field of education? The STE Secondary Program?
Since age seven, I have only desired to become a lawyer or an educator. Law school seemed unrealistic due to the constraints of the program; therefore, I decided to pursue education since I was already working as an emergency hire at Kaimukī High School in 2019.

When deciding on what program or institution to attend, I did a bunch of research. I learned that instead of going back for a BOE or an MEdT degree, I could get an 18-month post baccalaureate which would bring about the same benefits as a higher degree. I then met with Academic Advisor Alyssa Kapaona, and she explained the Grow Our Own Initiative with the stipend program. As it sounded very appealing and worthwhile, I applied and received the tuition stipend, passed my PRAXIS II to get into the program, and was very pleased with the education I received while part of the STE program.

Where do you work?
I teach ninth grade World History and 11th grade Modern History of Hawaiʽi/Participation in Democracy at Mckinley High School.

How did you become interested in teaching social studies as well as theater and dance?
I actually disliked history throughout high school. However, as I got older and learned how to be introspective and reflect on my own life and the history in which I lived and experienced, I realized that my life is an unfinished history book that is still being written. I thoroughly enjoyed my psychology and sociology course in high school, and I have always wanted to fulfill the legacy of my teacher, Tertia Yee, so that also prompted me to pursue this content area. Having a legal and logical mindset, doing English and social science courses was always my strong suit, and I felt that having experience from my legal courses at KCC would strengthen my skills in conveying content to children while teaching them the skills necessary to be successful in school and in the real world.

Regarding theatre and dance, the seed was planted when I was a very poor child in fifth grade. My teacher, Michelle Kay, saw a light in me and offered to pay for me to attend a theatre camp which cost $4,000, but I declined her generous offer. Then, when I attended Washington Middle School, I decided to take a drama class, and we were forced to audition for a main stage production at Kaimukī High School Performing Arts Center. I got into my first show at age 12 and I have fallen in love with performing since then. I got into Kaimukī High School on a performing arts GE and trained heavily all through high school and actually decided to attend Cornish College of The Arts in Seattle, WA. I turned it down because I wouldn’t be able to pay off college debt as a professional artist.

Describe your path to becoming a performer at Diamond Head Theater (DHT).
I actually started performing in various community theatre productions at age 14. I got into my first DHT show at 15 which was Guys & Dolls. Overall, I have been in over 40 main stage productions. My DHT performances include: Guys & Dolls, The King & I, Cabaret, Legally Blonde, All Shook Up, Disney’s Newsies, Kinky Boots, The Bodyguard, A Chorus Line, Elf!: The Musical, and Waitress.

How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
There is so much to say about the program! The STE program has completely given me a new outlook on education and how both teachers and students approach education. The STE program has benefited me in many ways, including providing me with tools, strategies, and concepts that I can use with my students. It has taught me the value of relationships and building community as the foundation to having a successful classroom. I have taken away so much knowledge from Dr. Strong-Makaiau in terms of lesson planning, backwards design, and forming unit plans around inquiry. The program for the most part consists of excellent and caring educators themselves who impart their knowledge and outlook on education to us.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
My psychology and sociology teacher, Tertia Yee, was my favorite teacher because with me specifically, she was very personal. She always encouraged me to do well and reminded me of my intelligence, work ethic, and talents. She became my colleague when I was teaching at Kaimukī in 2019, and she told me that she wanted me to take her position when she retires.

I actually come from a very low-income household of five children and a single mother. I am the youngest and the first to ever pursue higher education and have a career. So really, in the most humble way, I inspire myself. Since I left home at age 12, I had to really depend on myself to get through life, and I quickly learned responsibility. I am always trying to better myself and strive for my own vision of excellence.

What are your future visions and goals?
Currently my goals are to finish probation nice and strong while continuously developing my curriculum. I have been approached by the curriculum coordinator at Mckinley High School to discuss creating a “New Teacher Mentoring Program” here on campus for support of new educators. If I have extra time next school year, she and I will discuss the logistics of the program. I also intend to apply for National Board Certification. I think this is a worthy credential to have under my belt since I am doing all of the grunt work now.

My vision in life is always to have and produce great thinkers and reflectors. I want all of my students to walk out of my class with the ability to make smart choices and think about everything that comes with the choices they make. I am a big critical thinker. I envision my kids and myself as being the future of Hawaiʽi.

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