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Hawai'i Waimanalo Resident Among 61 New Teachers Recruited by Teach For America

New Teach For America corps members are committed to providing an excellent education for all students. 

Honolulu, Hawai‘i, August 05, 2019   Teach For America–Hawai‘i announced today that it has welcomed 61 new first-year teachers that will teach in public schools on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island this fall. They join over 220 current Teach For America-trained teachers in Hawai‘i classrooms, teaching primarily at schools in West Hawai‘i and O‘ahu’s Leeward Coast.

Teach For America–Hawai‘i partners with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (DOE) to recruit and provide ongoing support to a diverse group of promising leaders with a commitment to educational equity. Teach For America values individuals who bring diverse experiences and perspectives while prioritizing the recruitment of corps members who share the backgrounds of their students. “Growing up gives you and unique perspective and I wanted to work in a community that is similar to my own,” said Shay Zykova, a Waimanalo resident and graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and Hawai‘i Pacific University. Zykova is teaching English Language Arts at Wai‘anae High School. “I had opportunities to teach elsewhere, but I wanted to teach in Wai‘anae to help make public education great for the Native Hawaiian students it serves.”

This year nearly one-third of teachers are Native Hawaiian, kama‘āina, or both, representing hometowns including Nānākuli, Wai’anae, and Kona. Additionally, two teachers, Kama Pule and Mercy Watson, will return to teach at their high school alma maters Kamaile Academy and Nānākuli High and Intermediate School respectively.

“We are thrilled to welcome 61 enthusiastic new teachers to Hawai‘i public schools,” said Jill Baldemor, executive director of Teach For America–Hawai‘i. “This inspiring group joins a growing and diverse network of over 450 individuals in Hawai‘i that is collectively contributing to a robust ecosystem of opportunities for our keiki. We are proud to contribute innovative learners and leaders who work in partnership with students, families, and communities to empower students to achieve academically, grow personally, and activate their own leadership.”

The incoming Hawai‘i corps members join a nationwide network that now includes 60,000 members committed to equity.  

About Teach For America–Hawai‘i

Teach For America–Hawai‘i works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 2006 on O‘ahu and 2009 on Hawai‘i Island, Teach For America–Hawai‘i recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Our broader mission is to find, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence. The organization has had a profound impact in the islands by recruiting and developing more than 850 teachers since we started working in Hawaiʻi, many of whom are working across career sectors—including education, law, business, medicine, and government—to improve the opportunities of young people and fight for educational equity.  

For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with urban and rural communities in more than 50 regions across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today Teach For America is a force of nearly 60,000 alumni and corps members committed to profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they’re reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, to grow, to influence, and to lead. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Isaiah Peacott-Ricardos