East Hawaii News

Oahu Educator Honored; Timbal Top Big Island Teacher

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A teacher from Waikiki Elementary School has been named the 2014 State Teacher of the Year.

Mathew Lawrence emerged the winner from a group of the top teachers in each of the state’s districts, including Elizabeth Timbal of Keaau High School from the Hawaii District.

Department of Education officials said Lawrence has taught math and science at the school since 2001.

“At Waikiki Elementary, it is easy to spot Lawrence’s students, as they can be seen building climbing walls, solar powered go-carts and model homes, or a tennis ball launcher,” officials said.

Timbal, the Big Island’s top teacher this year, draws from her own experiences as a high school student to find inspiration for her students.

Elizabeth Timbal of Keaau High School, the Hawaii District’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. Courtesy photo.

Elizabeth Timbal of Keaau High School. Courtesy photo.

“Colleagues praise Elizabeth’s classroom management and genuine care for students,” the DOE said.

She helped spearhead the implementation of Advancement Via Individual Determination at Keaau High and developed an Extended Learning Opportunity program.

“You made me discover talents that I never knew I had,” a former student of Timbal’s wrote. “You are the only one who took a chance to give me a chance.”

During Friday’s presentation ceremony, each district winner received a $500 award, and the state winner an additional $1,000 from the program’s corporate sponsor, the Polynesian Cultural Center. Each District Teacher of the Year also receives instructional software. The state Teacher of the Year also receives a one-year lease on a new car courtesy of the Hawaii Automobile Dealers’ Association.

Other District Teachers of the Year were:

  • Teresa Cramer, Central Oahu District, Hale Kula Elementary
  • Dayna Hironaka, Windward Oahu District, Kahaluu Elementary
  • Terra Wight, Leeward Oahu District, Nanakuli High and Intermediate
  • Anthony Williams, Maui District, Paia Elementary
  • Justin Yamagata, Kauai District, Waimea Canyon Middle


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