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Teacher of the Year: An honor that runs in the family

Territorial Teach of the Year (TTOY) 2021, Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Territorial Teach of the Year (TTOY) 2021, Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka was officially announced last Thursday afternoon by Education director Dr Ruth Matagi-Tofiga, during a presentation at the Education Department’s (ASDOE) main office in Utulei.

A teacher for nearly 10-years, Suluai-Mahuka is a graduate of Samoana High School — where she is currently an English Teacher — and the American Samoa Community College.

In 2014, she graduated with a Bachelor of Education from University of Hawaii Manoa and obtained her ME.D in curriculum studies two years later from the same university, according to her bio provided by ASDOE.

She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Philosophy in Learning Technology and design from the UH Manoa. Her teaching career started at Fa’asao Marist as the English Department Head, then moved to Samoana High School as an English Teacher.

Dr. Matagi-Tofiga said Suluai-Mahuka dedicates this honor to her mother, who is a former TTOY, Mrs Merwyden Suluai, a teacher at Matafao Elementary.

Suluai-Mahuka acknowledged her husband Erik Mahuka, her father a Navy Corpsman, and her Samoana High School Family — students and teachers for their support.

“I enjoy teaching because it allows me to give back to my community, and it brings me great joy to see this younger generation strive to achieve academic success. I hope that I continue to grow as a passionate educator, as I have found that teaching is and will always be my life profession,” said Suluai-Mahuka in a statement provide by ASDOE.

In April year, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that Suluai-Mahuka was one of ten winners nationwide to receive the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) — which recognizes innovative educators who bring environmental education into their classrooms through hands-on, experiential approaches. USEPA says Suluai-Mahuka is the first American Samoan to win this award.

Matagi-Tofiga congratulates Suluai-Mahuka and also congratulations to all School Teachers of the Year as well as District Teachers of the Year. The TTOY Committee is headed by Assistant Director Netini Sene.

Last Friday, Samoana high students, teachers and others, along with Sabrina held a wave along the highway in Utulei in front of their school campus.