Moanalua Middle School teacher named Milken Educators of Hawai‘i’s 2024 Teacher of Promise


Moanalua Middle social studies teacher Kimberly Kim honored with 2024 Teacher of Promise award and $2,000 cash prize.

HONOLULU — Moanalua Middle School social studies teacher Kimberly Kim was honored today with the 2024 state Teacher of Promise award. The award is granted annually by the Milken Educators of Hawai‘i — a select group of Hawai‘i educators who have been recognized by the nationally renowned Milken Family Foundation — to a classroom teacher for demonstrating outstanding commitment and potential during their first three years with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE).

Kim was awarded a $2,000 cash prize sponsored by the HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union for professional development during a surprise ceremony at a faculty meeting. Hawai‘i Senate Vice President and Education Committee Chairwoman Michelle Kidani, along with Sen. Donna Mercado-Kim and Rep. Micah Aiu, who both represent the Moanalua area, presented Kim with a commemorative certification from the Hawai‘i State Legislature to help mark the occasion. 

“It takes a special person — a committed educator, one who has passion for the job, that loves students, that embraces the collegiality of Moanalua Middle — that makes Kimberly Kim truly special and so deserving of this very exceptional award,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “On behalf of the Department, thank you very much for the job that you do each and every day to make learning such an exceptional experience for all of our keiki.”

Colleagues describe Kim’s seventh grade classroom as a dynamic learning environment where she employs holistic questions, discussion techniques and purposeful activities to enhance student engagement. She has been a driving force in developing the Social Studies Department to become a more inquiry-based learning environment to give students greater voice and choices in their projects. 

Her commitment to her students is grounded in equity and she strives to help her entire class learn together at the same pace. She even organized alternative learning experiences for students who were unable to attend the grade-level Hawai‘i Island field trip.

“Mrs. Kim has consistently demonstrated exceptional dedication and innovation in her teaching, embodying the core values and criteria outlined by the Milken Teacher of Promise program,” said Moanalua Middle Principal Komarey Moss. “Her commitment to student learning experiences, instructional strategies, professional development, curriculum development, substantive innovation, promotion of supportive and collaborative relationships, and overall growth truly set her apart.”

Kim deploys new teaching methods to help students to feel successful and valued. She often tutors students during non-school hours when they are away or cannot attend classes. This was especially significant during the pandemic, when she served as a distance learning teacher and tutored her students to keep their learning momentum on track.

“I’m totally surprised by this award, I couldn’t have done it without great leadership, a great team and great colleagues,” Kim said after receiving the recognition. “Everything about this award has everything to do with the school… our kids are the future and that’s why we’re here — for the kids.” 

Principal Moss proudly noted that Kim’s nomination for the Teacher of Promise award was a unanimous selection by the entire Moanalua Middle leadership team. 

Established in 2006, the Teacher of Promise award alternates annually between elementary and secondary teachers with the state winner selected from a group of HIDOE complex area honorees.


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