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AS DOE honors Territorial Teacher of the Year

The Department of Education held a ceremony acknowledging the Territorial teacher of the year (TTOY), Division Teacher of the Year and School Teacher of the Year last Friday at the Governor H.Rex Lee Auditorium. 

The event, hosted by the Teacher of the year Committee with the Department of Education, was packed with educators, previous winners of the prestigious award, and friends of those who were honored during the celebration. Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening was Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga, with invocation conducted by Reverend Semo Tapaleao of the CCCAS in Aoloau.

Iose Muasau Afu was named Territorial Teacher of the Year and Secondary Division teacher of the year.

School teacher of the year is Ulualo L Tautala of Lauli’i Elementary, who was also named Elementary Division Teacher of the year.

Fa’atulia Sione was named ECE Division teacher of the year and is from Masefau.

School teacher of the year for Elementary Schools are Alofau: Pamata VonDinklage; for Masefau: Larry Gutu; Matafao: Lisa Vaivao-Ino; Leone Mid-Kiff:Nileava Eary; Manulele: Mine Taufete’e; Ofu/Olosega: Fa’alili Potasi Leulua’i; Siliga: Cora Afalava So’osemea; Tafuna Elementary: Siaea Osa and Leone High School teacher of the year was Douglas Calvin Berquist.

“Teaching is demanding work, as the requirements and expectations become more demanding, because the global economy is becoming more competitive, the demand for teachers with better skills and knowledge that is directly tied to student improvement as one of the key measures only increases” said DOE Director Designee, Jacinta S Galea’i in special remarks at the event.

She said teaching is not an easy task to take on, given that there different circumstances with each classroom, each student. Teachers must teach not only academics, but behavior in the classroom, she noted.

“Some students can read, while some are still having a hard time, and that is the challenge teachers are facing, teaching each and every single student with different techniques and different methods because they are not all the same”.

Galea’i believes that educators who are committed to their job, who are knowledgeable, and happy to teach the students, and in return there will be a significant change on student’s grades on the positive side.

She added that some teachers are not fit for teaching, it is not their skill to teach and should be in other professions, but the challenge that the DOE faces is that there are not enough teachers.

She commended the teachers for their hard work in the classroom every day and noted that if students succeed, there would be a strong and efficient government. However if the students fail, than the stability of the government is questionable.

Galea’i congratulated all the teachers who received recognition and awards and especially the new TTOY — Iose Muasaua Afu.