Teachers from across the state honored for their dedication

Posted on Nov 28, 2018 in Featured, Main
Gov. Ige, first lady Dawn Amano Ige and DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto (center) with Hawai'i's Teacher of the Year Mathieu Williams (far right) and other district winners and officials.

Gov. Ige, first lady Dawn Amano Ige and DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto (center) with Hawai’i’s Teacher of the Year Mathieu Williams (far right) and other district winners and officials.

If you want to find hope for our state’s future, try spending some time with the 2019 District Teachers of the Year. They were honored Oct. 26 at Washington Place by Governor and Mrs. Ige, DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and community officials at the Hawai‘i’s 2019 Teacher of the Year ceremony. The rousing cheers for each district nominee showed they were all winners — making history, science and English more meaningful, improving autism education, showcasing classroom success or developing career academies for student success.

Hawai‘i’s top winner, who will go to Washington, D.C. in April to compete for the national title, is Mathieu Williams, 29, a technology and digital media teacher at Kealakehe Intermediate in Kona. He was praised for developing “an innovative, multi-layered experience so students can find the best versions of themselves while learning marketable skills.” In their first time entering, his students earned top prizes at the 15th Annual Student Television Network’s national convention last March. Williams’ colleagues praised him as a teacher-leader whose values make him an inspiration to everyone he meets. “He has the most beautiful vision of what education could be,” said Kristen Brummel, Hope Street Group state director. Brummel said Williams is the perfect ambassador for the state because “he has the heart of Hawai‘i in his soul.”

(close-up) - Mathieu Williams, Hawai'i's 2019 Teacher of the Year

Mathieu Williams, Hawai’i’s 2019 Teacher of the Year

What does Williams tell his students? “I ask them, ‘What are you going to offer this world?’” he said. “I want them to work from the heart and be responsible, ethical users of technology. Adolescence is when they’re going through so many changes. They’re at that tipping point of loving school or saying, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ We have a responsibility to the whole child. Our students are reflections of us.” The district winners included Shane Albritton, School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability charter school; Brandon Arakawa, Kahului Elementary, Maui; Sean Doi, Kauaʻi resource teacher, Sam Hankins, Kawananakoa Middle, Honolulu; Gail Izumigawa, Waipahu High, Leeward; Mary Ann Kurose, Radford High, Central; and Debbie Morrow, Kailua Elementary, Windward.

Read more in the December Capitol Connection newsletter.
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