Four KS educators earn National Board certification


Photo by Daisy Draper

Ms. Noelani Yatsushiro stands with NBPTS’s Andrea Hajek and Christy Levings with her National Board Certificate on February 3, 2014. She was one of four KS educators and 11 Maui educators who were honored that night.

By Daisy Draper, staff writer

Eleven Maui teachers received their National Board certificates on February 3, 2014 at Keōpūolani Hale, four from Kamehameha Schools. The KS educators were Ms. Camille Romero, Ms. Noelani Yatsushiro, Ms. Kaulana Molina, and Kumu Nalani Pollock.

Ms. Romero, with the Office for Educator Growth and Development, was responsible for putting the ceremony together. She also coordinated two other ceremonies — one on O’ahu, and one on the Big Island.

“It was a little embarrassing to be planning my own ceremonies and inviting people to celebrate me,” said Ms. Romero, who is now certified in English Language Arts.

Honored guests were there to celebrate the newly certified teachers. The first to speak was Mr. Joe Pontanilla, who spoke on behalf of Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Other speakers were Christy Levings, Vice Chair for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; Barry Wurst of the Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board; Alvin Shima, Maui complex supervisor with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education; and Lester Kunimitsu representing the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association.

After the speeches, the teachers went on stage to accept their certificates.

According to their website, the National Board’s purpose is to “advance the quality of teaching and learning by developing professional standards for accomplished teaching, creating a voluntary system to certify teachers who meet those standards and integrating Board-certified teachers into educational reform efforts.”

Kumu Pollock, Ka Piʻina support team member at KS Maui, said that the certification process made her think most about reflection and assessment.

“I think the biggest take-away for me is the reflection that you do when you are planning a lesson, when you are looking for resources and materials, how you are going to engage your students and more importantly, how you are going to assess their learning,” she said. Kumu Pollock earned her certificate in early literacy. She currently works in the headmaster’s office.

Ms. Noelani Yatsushiro, who is now nationally certified in adolescent English Language Arts, is the English 10 teacher at Kamehameha Schools Maui.

“I learned a lot, and I was reminded a lot about what it is like to be a student as opposed to just being the teacher. I could be back in my students’ place,” she said.

In the certification process, teachers become students. They demonstrate their professional knowledge by submitting four examples of accomplished lesson planning, teaching, and reflection to an electronic portfolio. They must also pass six tests to demonstrate proficiency in teaching their subject areas.

Ms. Kaulana Molina, who is now certified in physical education, is a PE and health teacher at KS Maui. 

“I learned a lot about education and students and me as a professional. I hope to use what I learned in the classroom for both health and PE,” she said.

After the ceremony, there was a reception of pūpū and drinks in the high school dining hall. The high school Hawaiian Ensemble sang and did hula for entertainment.