Moloka‘i HS Librarian Named HSTA 2019 Educator of the Year
Molokaʻi High School librarian Diane Mokuau received one of the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association’s highest honors this weekend, the 2019 S.T.A.C.Y. Award for Teaching Excellence.
Mokuau was recognized Saturday at HSTA’s 47th annual State Convention at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center. The award presentation featured an oli (chant) by Molokaʻi Chapter President Lokelani Han and fellow Molokaʻi Chapter educators, and an introduction by last year’s S.T.A.C.Y. Award recipient and national 2019 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence winner, ʻEwa Makai Middle School teacher Cynthia Tong.
Mokuau has lived on Molokaʻi for nearly 30 years and, according to HSTA Vice President Osa Tui Jr., is instrumental in shaping the island’s learning environment. “With her skills honed over the years, Diane has put her organizing into action for her community. She also advocates for non-classroom teachers and rural school faculties and the challenges faced by both of those constituencies,” Tui said. “She has worked hard to ensure that her library is well utilized, often operating at maximum capacity. Her acquisitions over the years of various technology and customized resources help to ensure that student literacy is improved and sustained and can target all levels of students throughout her school.”
After teaching for six years, Mokuau transitioned to the role of school librarian. She worked for seven more years at the elementary level before transferring to Molokaʻi High School, where she’s been for the past 15 years. Determined to elevate her profession even further, Mokuau became a National Board Certified Teacher, a designation that she has proudly held for the past eight years.
HSTA representatives say Mokuau is an unwavering advocate for educators across the state. She currently serves as HSTA Molokaʻi Chapter secretary and is a former chapter president, and is a key member of the association’s Negotiations Committee and Team and the Educator Effectiveness System Joint Committee with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education.
According to the HSTA, Mokuau helped pave the way for Molokaʻi High School’s maximum six-year accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and co-wrote a five-year, $1 million grant to develop the Molokaʻi LIVE 21st Century Community Learning Center, which provides homework assistance and enrichment activities for middle and high school students.
“If not for the tremendous support from my peers and the strength of relationships developed through shared efforts, I would not be standing here,” Mokuau said. “In accepting this award, I am representing all of us, our schools and our futures as shaped by our students. This is why we are here. This is what we do. This is our purpose, and we cannot do it alone. This is why I am involved with HSTA and represent the sum total of everyone who has influenced, taught and supported me.”
With this award, Mokuau becomes HSTA’s nominee for the NEA Foundation’s 2020 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence and NEA Member Benefits Award.