Kailua Intermediate teacher wins ‘Teacher of Promise’ award

Ryan Kagami (Photo: Dept. of Education)
Ryan Kagami (Photo: Dept. of Education)

Kailua Intermediate teacher Ryan Kagami was honored Friday morning as the National Milken Educators of Hawaii ‘Teacher of Promise.’ The award annually recognizes a teacher who demonstrates excellence in the field and the highest qualities of a professional educator during the first four semesters in the classroom.

Kagami, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade science, wrote and received grants to fund a classroom aquaponics system. The miniature lab draws students’ interest in complex topics such as water and nitrogen cycles, plant biology, fish anatomy, and the role microbial communities play in the earth’s ecosystem and humans. He was also a catalyst in launching the Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, program at Kailua Intermediate.

“Ryan is an exceptional educator who promotes instruction that inspires students to become active citizens of the world as they participate in scientific thinking, solve problems and prepare for college,” said Kailua Intermediate Principal Lisa DeLong. “In Ryan’s classes, science concepts become relevant because students find practical applications all around them.”

Kagami began teaching at Kailua Intermediate in January 2012. The Castle High graduate earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a master’s degree in secondary education from Chaminade University.

He received a plaque and $1,000 through a sponsorship from HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union.

In addition to Kagami, other Hawaii public school teachers nominated for the ‘Teacher of Promise’ award were recognized earlier in the year: Nathan Pontious (Kauai High), Christian Simoy (Aiea High), Christopher Ho (Keaau High) and Tricia Dong (Waianae Intermediate).

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