Hawaii teachers receive national Presidential Award for Excellence

From left: Eliza Yoshida, Stan Mesina, Alicia Nakamitsu, and Bryan Silver (Photos: HIDOE)

Four Hawaii teachers received national recognition Monday with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The teachers will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.

“We are proud of these educators and commend them for providing our students with rigorous science and math curriculum and opportunities,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “These teachers bring their innovative skills to teaching students not only the subject matter but also expanding their students’ sense of curiosity. This recognition is well deserved.”

All four recipients are Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) teachers from the following schools:

Eliza Akana Yoshida
Pu’u Kukui Elementary (K-6 Math awardee)
Yoshida has been teaching for 13 years and served as a State STEM Math Resource Teacher providing professional development. In 2013, she helped open Pu’u Kukui Elementary, where she is currently a curriculum coordinator, and established the school’s Math Matters competition team.

Stan Mesina
August Ahrens Elementary (K-6 Science awardee)
As a teacher at August Ahrens for 24 years, Mesina has received multiple awards for his work teaching STEM including Leeward Teacher of the Year. He also coaches his students for robotics competitions including VEX-IQ, FIRST LEGO League, ROBOFEST and SeaPerch.

Alicia Nakamitsu
Aiea High (7-12 Math awardee)
Nakamitsu currently teaches Algebra I at Aiea High, where she has been teaching for the past 14 years. She is also the school’s Mathematics Department Chair and Math Team Coach, and has served as a New Teacher Mentor at the school, state and national level through the New Teacher Center.

Bryan Silver
Kalani High (7-12 Science awardee)
Silver has been teaching Industrial Engineering Design, Drafting Technology I+II and Engineering for 16 years at Kalani High. He runs a robust afterschool robotic program in VEX, FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Robotics and Real-world Design Challenge.

This year, 213 mathematics and science teachers were selected nationwide for the award. Since the award’s inception in 1983, more than 4,600 teachers have been recognized and added to the growing network of educators.

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