HONOLULU – Waikiki Elementary teacher Catherine Caine has been named one of four finalists for the 2015 National Teacher of the Year Award, one of the country's most prestigious education honors.
Caine, who teaches a multiple subject curriculum for second grade students, was recognized last year as the Hawaii State Teacher of the Year. She has taught at Waikiki since 1992, helping to create a "Mindful School"; and focuses on critical thinking, project-based learning, Philosophy for Children, and the Habits of Mind.
"We are thrilled and couldn't be more proud of having Catherine represent Hawaii," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "She exemplifies key qualities of an effective educator. Her passion for teaching is evident in her classroom and school campus, as well as in her dedication to share her expertise with peers and advance the profession."
Caine is a mentor teacher and a coordinator for both University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University's teacher development programs. She supports Philosophy for Children (p4c) through the Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. A National Board certified teacher, Caine is Hawaii's first national finalist since Derek Minakami earned the nomination in 2001.
"Teaching presents joy and an intellectual challenge on a daily basis for me," she says. "I treasure the moments when authentic learning becomes linked to my instructional outcomes and transforms the teaching and learning process from practice into art. The process of guiding my students to learn 'how' to think and not 'what' to think sustains my love for the profession."
The other finalists vying for the national award are Anne Marie Corgill (Alabama), Kathy Nimmer (Indiana) and Shanna Peeples (Texas). The winner will be announced in April and spend a year traveling the nation to represent educators and advocate on behalf of teachers.
The National Teacher of the Year program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), identifies exceptional teachers in the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.
"Few people can change a child's life like a great teacher," said Chris Minnich, executive director of the CCSSO. "Teachers rise to more professional challenges than ever in the classroom, but their impact extends far beyond school walls. A teacher can inspire curiosity and confidence that lifts a student for life."
The National Teacher of the Year Program, presented by Voya, is a project of CCSSO in partnership with People to People Ambassador Programs.
Every year, exemplary teachers from each state, the U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity are selected as State Teachers of the Year. From that group, the National Teacher of the Year is then selected by a panel representing 15 renowned education organizations, which collectively represent more than 7 million educators.
The president of the United States will recognize the National Teacher of the Year in a White House ceremony this spring.
For more information on the National Teacher of the Year program, including previous recipients,