Maui News

Finalists named for 2023 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year

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Malia Draper (left); and Cornelio “CJ” Ancheta (right). PC: courtesy HIDOE

Waiheʻe Elementaryʻs curriculum coordinator, Malia Draper, and Lahainaluna math teacher Cornelio “CJ” Ancheta, are among the list of 15 educators across the state selected as finalists for the 2023 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education made the announcement on Friday.

“We are proud to recognize these outstanding teachers who have demonstrated some of the highest levels of dedication and passion for their students,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “As our Hawaii public school system continues to focus on prioritizing and accelerating student learning, we are grateful to have outstanding teachers in the classroom to help lead the way.”


The honored finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Makena Ale: Castle-Kahuku complex, Kahuku Elementary, Kindergarten
  • Cornelio “CJ” Ancheta: Hāna-Lahainaluna-Lānaʻi-Molokaʻi complex, Lahainaluna High, Math
  • Chayanee Brooks: Ka‘ū-Keaʻau-Pāhoa complex, Kaʻu High & Pahala Elementary, English
  • Malia Draper: Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui complex, Waiheʻe Elementary, Curriculum Coordinator
  • Shelby Ann Erdmann: Kapaʻa-Kauaʻi-Waimea complex, Waimea High, English and Special Education
  • Jared Haiola: Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua complex, Haleiwa Elementary, Special Education and STEM
  • Michael Ida: Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani complex, Kalani High, Math and Computer Science
  • Nuikala Koerte: Nānākuli-Waiʻanae complex, Waianae Elementary, Kindergarten
  • Cerina Livaudais: Public Charter Schools, Dreamhouse Ewa Beach, Science and Computer Science
  • Leeann Manuel: Campbell-Kapolei complex, Ewa Makai Middle, Curriculum Coordinator
  • Keevan Matsumoto: Kaimukī-McKinley-Roosevelt complex, Kaimuki High, Special Education Student Services Coordinator
  • Joel Matsunaga: Honoka‘a-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena complex, Health and Physical Education Resource Teacher
  • Daphne Okunaga: Pearl City-Waipahu complex, Pearl City High, Math and Business
  • Kristi Taise: Hilo-Waiākea complex, Resource Teacher
  • Deanne Takeno: Kailua-Kalāheo complex, Maunawili Elementary, Academic Coach
  • Cherie Teraoka: ‘Aiea-Moanalua-Radford complex, Aliamanu Middle, Curriculum Coordinator

In October, one teacher will be announced as the 2023 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year and will go on to represent Hawaiʻi in the National Teacher of the Year program. The honor is presented annually to a teacher selected from more than 13,000 HIDOE educators.


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