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17 Teach For America Graduates Join Big Island Schools

August 10, 2016, 2:51 PM HST
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Big Island Now stock photo.

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Teach For America–Hawai‘i has welcomed more than 50 new first-year teachers to local public schools this fall in Hawai‘i—17 teachers on Hawai‘i Island and 38 on O‘ahu.

The new teachers join nearly 200 current Teach For America-trained teachers in Hawai‘i classrooms, teaching primarily at schools in West Hawai‘i, and O‘ahu’s Leeward Coast and Ewa Beach.

Teach For America–Hawai‘i has partnered with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education in its efforts to fill a number of vacancies by recruiting a diverse group of our nation’s most promising leaders to make an enduring commitment to educational equity, beginning with teaching for at least two years in high-need urban and rural schools.

Teach For America values individuals who bring diverse outside experiences and perspectives, while it also makes a commitment to recruiting corps members who share the backgrounds of the students they teach.

This year, teachers represent hometowns on O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i and Kaua‘i. Additionally, 83% of incoming kama‘āina teachers are public school graduates, more closely reflecting the communities and students with which we work.

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“As someone who was born and raised in Kona, I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to make an impact in my community,” said Kyli Lyn Arford, a graduate of Konawaena High School who will be teaching 11th grade chemistry and biology at Kealakehe High School to students with special education needs. “After moving to California for college and working as an educator in the Bay Area, I’m returning home with my family because I not only want my kids to grow up where I did, but I also want to advocate for the public school system I came from. The mission of Teach For America-Hawai‘i and its focus on local values like aloha resonated with me, and I’m looking forward to joining this network of people striving to increase opportunities for keiki on Hawai‘i Island.”

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“We are thrilled to welcome more than 50 new teachers to Hawai‘i public schools,” said Jill Baldemor, executive director of Teach For America–Hawai‘i. “This inspiring group joins a diverse network of teachers, school and district leaders, community advocates, and private sector professionals in Hawai‘i that is collectively contributing to a robust ecosystem of opportunities for our keiki. We are proud to contribute innovative learners and leaders who work in partnership with students, families, and communities to empower students to achieve academically, grow personally, and activate their own leadership.”

The incoming corps members will join a larger Teach For America ‘ohana in Hawai‘i of more than 300 individuals, including teachers, school leaders, elected officials, and professionals in law, business, and medicine.

For more information, visit Teach For America–Hawai‘i’s website.

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