Sponsored by Hawaii Pacific University
Hawaii Pacific University’s School of Education prepares candidates to become competent, caring, and professional educators through classroom discussions and field experiences. After graduating from the program, Mikey Rickman is now a second grade teacher at The Prep at St. Andrew’s Schools.
Rickman says he loves teaching the second grade because that’s when he sees the children gain independence, and he loves seeing that confidence build. “They have that zest for life and learning, and to see that grow in front of me is pretty special.”
Before enrolling at HPU, Rickman was interpreting for the deaf in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2016, he applied to HPU’s School of Education and was offered graduate assistantship so that he could come to Hawaii and get a second master’s degree in education.
“My first year, I spent interpreting and working with deaf kids in another school district, and I was going to school simultaneously,” Rickman explains. “My second year is when HPU got me in touch with St. Andrew’s Schools.” That’s when he started his career at the school, working full-time and doing his student-teaching simultaneously.
“We have an on-going partnership with St. Andrew’s Schools in which we have a number of student teachers placed in the different classrooms,” says Dr. Roger Kiyomura, director of HPU’s School of Education. “We also have many graduates teaching in the schools.” HPU also has its current students doing classroom assistant and after school care positions.
HPU’s School of Education is a teacher preparation program in which teachers are licensed to teach from kindergarten through 12th grade. There are three different programs: Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education, Master of Education in Elementary Education, and Master of Education in Secondary Education.
“The experience at HPU was phenomenal,” Rickman says. He says the close-knit, family atmosphere is what drew him in. “The professors were always there for you. It didn’t matter what time of day or night.” Even after graduating from the School of Education in 2018, Rickman says he still feels the support from his former professors.
“They’re a phone call away and they’re so supportive of my journey as an educator,” he says. “It’s like a family.”