HONOLULU — On Saturday, 21 teachers statewide were recognized for earning their National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification – a recognition for meeting the highest standards for teaching, announced the Hawaii State Department of Education.

“Our National Board Certified Teachers are not just educators; they are mentors, leaders, and champions of excellence,” said Superintendent Keith Hayashi in a news release. “They possess a deep understanding of their subject matter and a keen insight into the individual needs and strengths of each of their students. … Their commitment to continuous improvement and their willingness to push the boundaries of their own professional practice sets an inspiring example for all of us.”

At a ceremony held at Washington Place, Gov. Josh Green, Superintendent Hayashi, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Hope Poʻo Kumu (Vice Principal) Keola Silva, President of the Hawaii Education Association and the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board Joan Lewis, along with legislators and representatives of the Hawaii State Teachers Association celebrated the new National Board Certified Teachers.

The process to earn or retain certification is a rigorous one that can take up to three years. It involves applicants submitting a comprehensive portfolio and requires them to be up-to-date with the latest strategies and best practices in education.

Gov. Green thanked the teachers for their dedication and commented on the importance of highly qualified teachers to the state, saying their commitment to students lays the foundation for the Hawaii’s future.

In addition to the 21 newly certified teachers, 83 educators renewed their NBCT certifications. Hawaii ranks 12th nationwide for the percentage of NBCTs and has 789 teachers with this designation.

The 21 educators who received their certification:

Hawaii Island

Kristal Blacksmith, Waikoloa Elementary & Middle
Nekia Mahzad-Nolan, Hilo High


Sarah Kern, Kamakahelei Middle


Tai Baird, Wailuku Elementary
Abigale Prock, Office of Curriculum & Instructional Design, Extended Learning Branch


Janice Avellana, Hahaione Elementary
Shely Chang, Kaimiloa Elementary
Lauren Collier, Kaneohe Elementary
James Inamasu, Ewa Makai Middle
Riley Jaeger, Niu Valley Middle
Melissa Lee, Kaneohe Elementary
Kiani McBean, Aikahi Elementary
Abigail McClellan, Kamiloiki Elementary
Kai Morrell, Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama Campus
Shelby Oshiro, Waianae Intermediate
Kathryn Parsons, Jarrett Middle
Jade Pham, Kawananakoa Middle
Kehaulani Piiohia, Malama Honua Public Charter School
Vanessa Race, Dole Middle
Bryan Silver, Kalani High
Ernescia Torricer, Red Hill Elementary