Iose "Josie" Afu Muasau is Teacher of the Year
Iose “Josie” Afu Muasau, an English teacher at Tafuna High School was named the 2012-2013 Territorial Teacher of the Year. "Great education begins with outstanding teaching, and Josie is an exemplary educator,” said THS Principal, Lentoy Matagi.
“His work, and that of all of our local Teachers of the Year, is heartwarming and inspiring. With teachers like these, THS students are in great hands. Josie exemplifies what it means to be a determined educator,” she added.
“He’s a tireless instructor, fully committed to his students and their academic progress and his work reflects well on all of us.”
Muasau, who has been a teacher for 17 years, currently teaches 10th and 11th grade students, helping them develop critical thinking and inquiry skills through the exploration of the English language and the processes of writing, speaking, and listening.
The path to becoming Territorial Teacher of the Year is a competitive one. After Muasau won the Teacher of the Year for his school, he then competed with other Teachers of the Year from other schools for the district Teacher of the Year, and finally for the division level competition between top teachers from Early Childhood Education (ECE) and elementary school teachers.
Muasau was then nominated to the top three teachers tier and in addition to interviews, he was judged while teaching inside the classroom. Muasau holds a bachelor's degree in Education, a master's degree in curriculum studies and he’s currently working on his doctorate in education studies at the University of Argosy in Hawaii.
During his 17 years of teaching, Muasau has worked at Nu’uuli Vocational Technical School, Pavai’a’i, Matafao and Tafuna Elementary schools, and Tafuna High School. Aside from his commitment to academics, Muasau is also a coach for volleyball and soccer teams of THS. He was named Coach of the Year for volleyball on several occasions.
In previous years, Muasau has represented American Samoa at the Pacific Education Conference, as well as other conferences in the Pacific and the mainland.
Muasau dedicates his accomplishments to his biological parents who have passed on, Muasau Evile and Vasati Muasau Tofili, and his guardians Lemusuetau Pio and Valasi Lavata'i Gaisoa.
Muasau told Samoa News that he loves, enjoys and is passionate about teaching. Muasau gives all the credit to his students, saying, “they work so hard, they inspire me."
“Our students need to be recognized for — and learn to capitalize on — their strengths, not to be judged for their weaknesses… and learn how to challenge those weaknesses so that their potential is infinite” said Muasau, adding that " I think our system is playing the game of school."
He added that it is our collective responsibility to transcend education in creating places where students thrive because of the system, not in spite of it. “Our most important actions are not the assessments we give, the technology we integrate, the mandates we pass. Our most significant action is the interaction we have with our students," he told Samoa News.
"In our classroom, we define the worth of our day, and the worth of our day is based on what we learn." Muasau said, adding, “I am not a perfect teacher, I am a real teacher. Teaching isn’t a string of success stories for me, it's also a frustration and confusion and everything that creates texture in my days."
“We know our students are worth the kinds of learning experiences that are innovative, individualized, and driven by passionate educators. We know they deserve every opportunity to become self-actualized." he stated.
“It's worth knowing that when your students ask that question, when they make that connection, when they teach because you've inspired them, it's your moment of grace, indelibly etched on their tomorrow,” said Muasau.
The Territorial Teacher of the Year will be honored by the President at the White House next spring, participate in several national meetings and conferences, and attend the National Space Camp with all the State