Heather Rogers-Rodrigues

"Explore your inner calling. Choose a program that provides you with a meaningful pathway to your desired destination."


Keokea, HI


Special Education

How did you become interested in the field of special education?

Prior to entering the field of special education I was a social worker in the Hawai’i State Judiciary. The work was very rewarding, yet I found myself wishing and looking for more proactive ways to support young people. Not long afterwards I took a job as a teaching assistant in a mild-moderate disabilities program at a middle school, and from that point forward I was hooked on special education!

What is your philosophy of teaching?

I believe that teaching is a glorious union of science and humanity.

What types of candidates do you hope/recommend to pursue the Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education?

I hope to inspire people of all backgrounds and interests to consider the promise and practice of teaching. If you are interested in life long learning, and if you are devoted to improving the educational outcomes of students with disabilities, you have come to the right place!

How does the Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education best support and prepare its students?

The Post-Baccalaureate program coursework and field experience guidelines are closely aligned. The coursework is informed by research to practice principles and practices. The field experiences provide opportunities for teacher candidates to apply what they are learning in coursework to their own developing practice, with the careful support of supervision and mentoring. Course instructors are field supervisors work together to ensure a coordinated approach and a meaningful learning experience. You will develop lasting relationships with fellow students and with program personnel. These relationships will be a life-long supportive resource.

What words of advice would you give to people looking to pursue the program/profession?

Ask lots of questions! Talk to people who teach and do research. Explore your inner calling. Choose a program that provides you with a meaningful pathway to your desired destination. I hope that you find along the way that your learning and teaching journey will reach no actual destination, but will instead lead you to new trails!

Briefly describe your own road to higher education.

After teaching students with high incidence disabilities in grades 6-9 for 17 years, I moved into higher education because I became interested in research and teacher preparation. I joined UH Manoa in 2016 as an Instructor.

What are your goals or future plans?

My professional goals include continuing to improve my skills in teaching and supervision, and to further develop my research and scholarly writing. I love working in the Department of Special Education and I look forward to many more years of teaching and learning together.

What do you like to do outside of education?

In my free time I like to be in the ocean, I really can’t get enough of it! I love to travel and I look forward to when that’s a thing again! I recently started painting landscapes and still life with acrylics and oils, and while I won’t say I’m good at it I do enjoy it.

I'm interested in learning more about a degree or certificate in Special Education.

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