HONOLULU - Kapunahala Elementary teacher Stephanie Mew was named Hawaii's 2016 State Teacher of the Year. Mew received the state's top teaching award from Governor David Ige and Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz during a ceremony held at Washington Place this afternoon.
The honor is presented annually to a classroom teacher selected from more than 11,000 educators within the Hawaii State Department of Education. Mew was among seven District Teachers of the Year recognized today.
“Stephanie helps her students to become good, well-balanced individuals by placing emphasis on the importance of character development, in addition to rigorous learning,” said Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz. “Her dedicated service extends into the community as she makes presentations to teachers, parents and the public stressing the importance of education for our children.”
Deeply affected by the struggles of at-risk youths, Mew sought a career that could “plant seeds for a successful, productive, and peaceful life” for students. Her observation that students who were focused on being good individuals became happy, peaceful, and well-educated citizens, led her to value character education as a part of everyday lessons. In the classroom, she personifies the “good person” by exercising the values of truth, love, and non-violence in her own behavior and serves as a positive role model for students.
"With so many support services that Stephanie provides for her students, 91 percent met proficiency in math and at reading, higher than the school’s average proficiency rates," said Deborah Nekomoto, Kapunahala Elementary Principal. “Stephanie is a natural teacher leader, has shown commendable skills in working with children and has a passion for student learning.”
Mew earned a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Chaminade University, a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a diploma and advanced diploma from the Institute of Sathya Sai Education in Thailand.
She has taught at Kapunahala Elementary for 13 years and previously worked as an instructor at Chaminade University and the Montessori Hale O Keiki on Maui.
As a member of the Sathya Sai Center of Oahu, she serves as a service and education coordinator and develops free education workshops and presentations for teachers, parents, and the public. She routinely volunteers to feed the homeless, work with the elderly, collect goods for the needy and perform other community services.
Mew will represent Hawaii in the National Teacher of the Year Program. Each April, the President of the United States announces the national winner. Today's Teacher of the Year ceremony included:
A $500 award to each District Teacher of the Year by The Polynesian Cultural Center, the Teacher of the Year program's corporate sponsor for 30 consecutive years, and an additional $1,000 award to the State Teacher of the Year
A presentation of instructional software from SMART Technologies to each District Teacher of the Year, and other classroom technology to the State Teacher of the Year
A one-year lease of a new car courtesy of the Hawaii Automobile Dealers' Association to the State Teacher of the Year
In addition to Mew, Hawaii's District Teachers of the Year honored today are:
David Paul Braun, Jr., Kauai District, Waimea Canyon Middle School
Alicia Chang, Honolulu District, King Liholiho Elementary School
Kathy Lin, Leeward District, Highlands Intermediate School
Joy Aulani Takatsuka, Maui District, King Kamehameha III Elementary School
Darryl Yagi, Hawaii District, E.B. de Silva Elementary School
Lynn Yoshioka, Central District, Mililani Middle School