HONOLULU - Public schoolteachers were honored Thursday in Honolulu including King Kekaulike High School's Emily Haines-Swatek who was recognized as the Maui District Teacher of the Year for 2010.
Wima Chulakote, a mathematics teacher at Olomana School on Oahu was named Hawaii's 2010 State Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made during the Hawaii State Board of Education meeting held Thursday afternoon in the State Capitol Auditorium.
Since 2001, Haines-Swatek has facilitated the Project EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) program at King Kekaulike. It allows students to become self-directed learners by using technology to create projects that benefit their community. Kekaulike's students have been recognized numerous times nationally for their "superior-rated" projects.
A news release from the state Department of Education said Chulakote devotes countless evenings to help his students prepare for the General Educational Development test.
"It is no wonder that 90 percent of his students pass the math section," the news release said.
Chulakote also reaches out and provides support for new teachers and conducts professional development on the use of the Advancement Via Individual Determination program.
In his spare time, he helps build a network for better international understanding through his community efforts with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and as the Hawaii liaison for Thai military personnel to the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies located in Waikiki.
Chulakote earned his bachelor's degree in business management, and a professional diploma in secondary mathematics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
He also holds a certificate of teaching in upper elementary from Udorn Teacher College in Thailand.
The State Teacher of the Year is selected from among the District Teachers of the Year, who this year included: Christine Ho, Honolulu District, Farrington High; Julia Rose LoPresti, Central Oahu District, Aiea Intermediate; Kathy Lin Leeward Oahu District, Highlands Intermediate; Samantha Funes, Hawaii District, Keonepoko Elementary; and Crystal Ishida, Kauai District, Kekaha Elementary.
The Polynesian Cultural Center, the State Teacher of the Year program's corporate sponsor for 24 years, awarded $500 to each District Teacher of the Year.
The state winner receives an additional $1,000 cash award.
SMARTer Kids Foundation from Canada presented each District Teacher of the Year with gifts of instructional software. The state winner also received with a SMARTBoard and other classroom technology.
In addition, the Hawaii Automobile Dealers' Association provided Chulakote with a free one-year lease of a new car.