Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka, a PhD student in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Education (COE) Learning Design and Technology (LTEC) department, has been named the American Sāmoa Territorial Teacher of the Year. An English teacher at Samoana High School where she attended school, Suluai-Mahuka earned a BEd and MEd from the COE.
“Ever since I became an educator, this award has always been a goal of mine,” Suluai-Mahuka said. “I’ve worked assiduously to improve with every lesson and with every school year, I was motivated to push through all the late hours that are demanded of a teacher. As such, I am honored to be bestowed this prestigious title, and it is especially special to me as my mother was awarded this same title 10 years ago.”
Suluai-Mahuka is also a graduate advisor and lecturer in the college’s PACMED program where she earned her master’s degree. The focus of this curriculum studies program is on culturally-responsive, Pacific, place-based science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics subjects.
PACMED Director Deb Zuercher said, “I was not only Sabrina’s cohort instructor and graduate advisor, but I was also her mother’s! Jewele Suluai was also the Territorial Teacher of the Year and a COE BEd and MEd graduate.”
Before Samoana, Suluai-Mahuka began her teaching career at Faʻasao Marist High School as head of the English department. She credits the COE with having a major role in her career, having gained the necessary knowledge and experience to become a more effective teacher.
She concluded, “With amazing instructors and phenomenal lessons, I was taught to employ effective classroom management strategies, plan meaningful and engaging lessons, and meet the needs of all my diverse learners. I am grateful to have been able to obtain such an amazing education, and I hope to see more educators, who are passionate about their profession, join in and pursue higher education with the College of Education.”