UH West Oahu plays key role in battle to develop good teachers in Hawaii

Be A Hero. Be A Teacher. - UH System and Hawaii State Dept. of Education

In the continuing fight against the teacher shortage here in Hawaii, The University of Hawai’i West O’ahu (UHWO) campus is offering undergraduate teacher training programs. It’s part of UH System and The Hawaii State, Department of Education’s ‘Be A Hero. Be A Teacher’ campaign. Professor and chair of the education division, Dr. Mary Heller, and associate specialist and field experience coordinator, Dr. Stephanie Kamai, tell Hawaii Now about the programs. These include training for elementary (K-6), middle-level and secondary (6-12), and English, math, science, biology, social studies and special education from grades K-12.

UHWO’s goal is to serve central and Leeward communities that are in desperate need of highly qualified, licensed classroom teachers who are committed to establishing and maintaining their teaching careers in Hawai’i. The program delivery is highly student-centered, with all of classes offered either hybrid fashion of fully online. Of the 212 alumni, 80% are teaching in West O’ahu Hawai’i public schools. They are the institution’s “working heroes,” dedicated to preparing Hawai’i’s students to succeed and ultimately to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Field experience is a vital part of the program supporting the teacher preparation program. Teacher candidates participate in relevant, practical and authentic experiences in K-12 classrooms, supporting theory learned in UHWO campus classes. The program encourages diversity, offers deeper relationships through mentoring opportunities, supports the teacher pipeline and keeps UHWO connected to current initiatives and strategies.

About Dr. Mary Heller
Dr. Mary Heller is Professor & Chair of the Education Division. She joined the UHWO faculty in 2006 as Director of Teacher Education, charged with implementing the then newly approved Elementary Teacher Preparation Program. Prior to moving to Hawai’i, she was a tenured,  full professor at Kansas State University where she provided leadership in their undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs, focusing on literacy teaching and learning. Dr. Heller currently serves as Editor-In-Chief for The Journal of Educational Research, an international, peer-reviewed journal for advancing academic quality and rigor in comparative and international education research.

About Dr Stephanie Kamai
Since 2012, Dr Stephanie Kamai has served as Field Experience Coordinator for UHWO’s K-12 Teacher Preparation Programs. Her commitment to UH West O’ahu candidates in the teacher preparation program, coupled with her experience in the Hawai’i Department of Education, gives Dr. Kamai a unique perspective and skill set. She creates partnerships and processes that support UHWO teacher candidates in their field placements.

For more information: westoahu.hawaii.edu, FB: @UHWestOahu, Twitter: @UHWestOahu, IG: @UHWestOahu