East Hawaii News

Big Island Teachers Become National Board Certified

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The Hawai’i State Department of Education has announced 46 DOE teachers are among 59 teachers to receive National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Of the 46 DOE teachers, 15 are educators on the Big Island.

Board of certification is considered the highest mark of accomplishment in the profession, which includes a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process that is similar to Board certification in other fields, such as medicine.

According to the DOE, to obtain certification, teachers must demonstrate mastery of knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for success in the 21st century.

Hawai’i has experienced the fastest growth in the number of National Board Certified Teachers in the nation during the past three years. The state currently has more than 500 NBCTs.

“The Department commends each of the 46 new NBCTs this year,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are particularly proud of the increase by neighbor island teachers whose remarkable determination and dedication resulted in their certification this year. As a state, we continue to pledge a strong commitment to support all teachers in their pursuit of National Board Certification.”


There are more than 110,000 teachers in all 50 states and D.C. that have achieved the profession’s gold standard for accomplished teaching, based on standards that define what educators should know and be able to do to advance student learning.

“The public clearly sees the value in Board certification as an assurance that teachers have met the profession’s highest standards and have the knowledge and skills necessary to advance student learning,” said Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board. “Still, we have a long way to go to make Board certification the norm and the expectation in the profession. Today, only a small fraction of America’s teachers are Board certified. We owe it to our students and out future to them a majority – and to build the coherent trajectory that supports every teacher to reach accomplished practice.”

The 15 Big Island educators to achieve the status of being NBCT are the following:

Whitney Aragaki, Waiakea High School

Joel Behr, Pahoa High & Intermediate School


Willian Keith Blackburn, Pahoa High & Intermediate School

Lacey Cabral, Kea’au High School

Gabrielle Chong, Kea’au High School

Victoria Couture, Kealakehe High School

Shannon Harbaugh, Pahoa High & Intermediate School


Nancy Iauke, Pahoa High & Intermediate School

Shari Jumalon, Konawaena Middle School

Elizabeth Laliberte, Hilo High School

Daniel Lewer, Honoka’a High & Intermediate School

Megan Oberg, Mountain View Elementary

Michelle Obregon, Konawaena High School

Layne Takahashi, Waiakea High School

Rochelle Tamiya, Hilo Intermediate School

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