Maui News

HSTA Seeks Nominees for Pono Award, Celebrating an Educator’s Work in Social Justice

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The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association’s Human and Civil Rights Committee is seeking nominations from the public for its 2020 Pono Award.

HSTA represents nearly 14,000 public school educators—including teachers, counselors, librarians, coordinators, and registrars—who live and work across our state.

The Pono Award recognizes an exceptional HSTA member who demonstrates the ability to lead, organize and engage educators, parents, and the community to advocate on social justice issues that impact the lives of students, fellow educators and the communities they serve. These issues may include, but are not limited to:

  • Immigration reform
  • School-to-prison pipeline
  • Equity in education
  • LGBTQ bias and issues
  • English-language learner advocacy
  • Racial profiling
  • Voter suppression and/or rights
  • Bullying

“With the holiday season in full swing, it’s a great time to celebrate our public school educators who go above and beyond to fight for equality and equity in and out of the classroom,” said HSTA Secretary-Treasurer Logan Okita. “As our population continues to grow and diversify, it’s become increasingly important to establish an environment that allows all our keiki to thrive.”

Those interested in submitting a nomination must fill out a form and include the following: 1) a detailed description of the nominee’s actions and activities, and 2) a statement that addresses the nominee’s social justice engagement within schools or the community and the importance of this work and impact on the lives of students. Nomination forms can be downloaded online.

Optional supporting material may also be submitted, such as the nominee’s resume, letters of recommendation, news clippings and photos/video.


Completed nomination forms and additional documents must be submitted via email to, fax at (808) 839-7106, or mail by Jan. 10, 2020 to: Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association c/o HCR Committee, 1200 Ala Kapuna Street, Honolulu, HI 96819.

The recipient of this award will be submitted as HSTA’s nominee to the National Education Association Social Justice Activist of the Year Award.


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