Ka‘imiloa Elementary School’s Cecilia Chung named 2020 Hawaii State Teacher of the Year


Ka‘imiloa Elementary School teacher Cecilia Chung was named the 2020 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year.

Ka‘imiloa Elementary School teacher Cecilia Chung was named the 2020 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year. Chung, affectionately known as CC, received the state's top teaching award from Governor David Ige and Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto during an awards ceremony held at Washington Place this afternoon. Chung will represent Hawaiʻi in the National Teacher of the Year program in Washington, D.C.

The honor is presented annually to a classroom teacher selected from more than 11,000 educators within the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE). Chung was among 15 Complex Area Teachers of the Year and one Charter School Teacher of the Year recognized today.

“CC is a passionate educator who has an ability to elevate and inspire those around her,” said Superintendent Kishimoto. “Whether she’s helping to produce the next generation of leaders in her classroom, or mentoring our future teacher leaders here at the Department, CC continues to leave an indelible mark on our community through her hard work. We look forward to following CC's achievements as she continues to inspire those around her to deliver on the power and promise of public education."

Chung joined the HIDOE family in 2013 and is a sixth-grade teacher at Ka‘imiloa Elementary in Ewa Beach. For the last two years, she worked as a technology integration coach for grades K-6. A mentor and inspiration to her fellow educators, Chung has led and facilitated a variety of workshops for the education community including the Schools of the Future Conference, EdCamp for West Oʻahu, and Kamehameha Schools’ Ed Tech Conference. 

She is also a Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellow, a role in which she works with other thoughtfully and rigorously selected public school teachers to grow their leadership skills, collaborate to bring the voices of teachers to decision makers, empower teachers and elevate the teaching profession. 

The full list of finalists honored today are, in alphabetical order:

  • Jessica Adkins, Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex, Maui High.
  • Kai Ah Hee, Honokaʻa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex, West Hawaiʻi District Office.
  • Courtney Carpenter, Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani Complex, Waikīkī Elementary. 
  • Dustin Chang, ʻAiea-Moanalua-Radford Complex, Pearl Harbor Elementary.
  • Cecilia Chung, Campbell-Kapolei Complex, Ka‘imiloa Elementary.
  • Celeste Endo, Kaimukī-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex, Queen Ka‘ahumanu Elementary. 
  • Taylor Flett, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex, Wheeler Middle.
  • Zoe Ingerson, Public Charter Schools, School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability (SEEQS).
  • Nikki Morishige, Castle-Kahuku Complex, Waiāhole Elementary. 
  • Megan Nii, Kauai Complex, Wilcox Elementary.
  • Russell Rapoza, Kaʻū-Keaʻau-Pāhoa Complex, Kea‘au High.
  • Ululani Russo, Nānākuli-Waiʻanae Complex, Waiʻanae Intermediate.
  • Kathy Sewake, Hilo-Waiākea Complex, Waiākea Elementary.
  • Kaui Spitalsky, Hāna-Lahainaluna-Lānaʻi-Molokaʻi Complex, Lahainaluna High.
  • Crystal Stafford, Kailua-Kalāheo Complex, Kalāheo High.
  • Jennifer Yamaguchi, Pearl City-Waipahu Complex, Pearl City Highlands Elementary.
Today's Teacher of the Year ceremony included:
  • ​A $500 award to each finalist by The Polynesian Cultural Center, the program's corporate sponsor for over 30 years, and $1,000 award to the winner.
  • A $100 award to each finalist by Hawaiʻi Schools Federal Credit Union, and a $250 award to the winner.
  • Honorariums to each finalist by Hawaiian Electric Co. 
  • A one-year lease of a 2019 Kia Niro Hybrid courtesy of the Hawaiʻi Automobile Dealers Association and Aloha Kia to the winner.
  • A $500 gas card courtesy of Par Hawaiʻi to the winner.


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