Maui Business

Merwin Conservancy to Launch New Fellowship for Hawaiʻi Teachers

December 27, 2017, 12:03 PM HST
* Updated December 27, 12:08 PM
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W.S. Merwin, Photo Copyright: Matt Valentine. Courtesy Library of Congress.

The Merwin Conservancy will launch a first-of-its-kind teaching fellowship in Summer 2018 that will be dedicated to exploring and developing teachers’ creative potential, imagination, and social-emotional learning.

In early 2018, fifteen Hawaiʻi-based teachers will be selected to participate, and teachers throughout the state whose students are in the “middle years” of ages 10 through 15 will be eligible to apply.

For the pilot year of the program, Merwin Conservancy’s education programs committee will hand-select a cohort of talented Hawaiʻi-based teachers, from public and private schools to be part of the professional development opportunity. Approximately half of participating teachers will be from Maui County, with the remainder coming from the rest of the islands.

The Merwin Creative Teaching Fellowship will give teachers the chance to be immersed in nature at W.S. Merwin’s private residence and in his world-renowned palm garden on the north shore of Maui. Teachers will also receive “social-emotional learning” focused professional development support from The Creative Core, one of the top agencies supporting teachers and schools in the state, and receive instruction and guidance from award-winning poet and children’s book author Naomi Shihab Nye.

“The Merwin Teaching Fellowship is like no other professional learning opportunity teachers have ever experienced,” said Masuda-Cleveland, who co-developed the Fellowship program with The Merwin Conservancy. “The Summer Institute, and the intensive collaboration which follows, changes the way teachers approach teaching and creates deep, transformative relationships between teachers and their students.”


The fellowship will begin with a five-day professional development workshop led by Maui-based professional development expert Masuda-Cleveland and her company The Creative Core.


The institute will be held June 20 – 24, 2018.

Interested teachers must complete a Fellowship application before Feb. 9, 2018, and participants will be selected by The Merwin Conservancy’s education programs committee in early March 2018.

Travel and lodging expenses for off-island fellows will be included in the Fellowship. Fellows will also have the option to apply for professional development credits with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education.


Poet and author Naomi Shihab Nye, who also serves on The Merwin Conservancy’s board of directors, shared that she was hopeful that the program would “infuse teachers with a similar great joy and confidence in writing and reading poetry, and energizing their own curriculums, that William Merwin’s poetry has given all his readers all these years.”

The timeline of the Merwin Creative Teaching Fellowship is as follows:

Dec. 21, 2017: Application Process Opened
Feb. 9, 2018: Application Process Closes
March 1, 2018: Committee Selects Fellows Cohort
March 9, 2018: Fellows Announced
June 20-24, 2018: Summer Institute on Maui
Fall/Spring 2018-19: School Year Fellows Collaborate
Late Spring/Early Summer 2019: Fellows Publish Results

For more information about the Merwin Creative Teaching Fellowship, or to get involved as a sponsor to underwrite this program, call Sara Tekula, Director of Communications & Outreach at The Merwin Conservancy at 808-871-5270 or by emailing [email protected].

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