PBSPED Mild/Moderate, 2014-2016 Cohort; 2019 Milken Educators of Hawai'i Teacher of Promise Recipient


“The program is built well as it guided me from being a student, to a student-teacher, to a teacher who can stand on my own and guide my own learning in the field.”


Honolulu, HI


Special Education

Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education (Mild/Moderate)

*** Kari is a 2019 Milken Educators of Hawai’i Teacher of Promise for Honolulu District ***

Where do you work?
I am a K–2 special education teacher at Haha‘ione Elementary School.

What will you remember most about your placement and mentors?
I loved stepping into the schools with a “teacher hat” and seeing the ins and outs of how things work internally. My cooperating teachers were so supportive and always encouraged me to continue to work hard. I really looked up to them–they were such great role models, and I aspire to be like them.

Did you always know you wanted to become a teacher?
I have always enjoyed helping others since I was in elementary school, but I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a teacher until college. That’s when I realized how much I enjoyed helping my classmates understand certain topics/lessons.

How did you become interested in special education in particular?
I became interested in special education after I took a disability studies class to fulfill a writing class and enjoyed it so much that I started taking more SPED courses and ended up minoring in disability studies.

Why did you choose to pursue this program?
This program allowed me to continue working (three out of four semesters) while completing courses online, and there was a stipend available.

What was the best part of the program for you?
The faculty and staff were fair and understanding, but still honest and helpful. I didn’t feel like they were just pushing me through the program, but supporting my growth as an educator.

In what ways do you hope to make a difference in the field of education?
I hope to make a difference in as many students’ and families’ lives as possible – both in special education and general education. I also hope to spread as much understanding about students with disabilities as I can.

How did the people and the program in the COE help you along the way to becoming a teacher?
The people and program in the COE helped me to become a teacher by offering and providing me with the experiences I needed to start being more comfortable and confident as a professional. The program is built well as it guided me from being a student, to a student-teacher, to a teacher who can stand on my own and guide my own learning in the field.

What are your future plans?
I would like to continue to work in the classroom as a SPED teacher for the next 10 years or so. Then, I’d eventually like to become a Special Education Mentor for the state.

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

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