Hawaii teachers recognized at White House ceremony
Two public school teachers from Hawaii were among math and science educators recognized by President Barack Obama today at a ceremony in the White House.
Liane Tanigawa of Pearl Ridge Elementary School and Seanyelle Yagi of Kalakaua Middle School were among more than 100 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Tanigawa serves as Pearl Ridge Elementary’s Science Curriculum Specialist. Yagi teaches sixth-grade math at Kalakaua Middle.
The presidential awards go to pre-college-level teachers selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.
Each year, the award alternates between science and math teachers in grades K to 6, or grades 7 to 12.
Obama used the occasion to announce a $250 million initiative to train math and science teachers and help meet his goal of pushing America’s students from the middle to the top of the pack in those subjects in the next decade.
Obama also joked to the teachers in attendance about putting them to work.
“I believe so strongly in the work that you do,” Obama said. “And as I mentioned to some of you, because I’ve got two girls upstairs with math tests coming up, I figure that a little extra help from the best of the best couldn’t hurt.
“So you’re going to have assignments after this,” he said. The audience laughed. “These awards were not free,” he added.