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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 7, 2010

2 Isle teachers honored at White House


Advertiser Staff and News Services

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Two Hawai'i public school teachers were among math and science educators recognized yesterday by President Obama at a ceremony in the White House.

Liane Tanigawa of Pearl Ridge Elementary School and Seanyelle Yagi of Kalškaua Middle School in Kalihi were among more than 100 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Tanigawa is Pearl Ridge's science curriculum specialist. Yagi teaches sixth-grade math at Kalškaua.

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 for kindergarten through sixth grade, then seventh-grade through 12th.

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.