Michael Ida, a veteran mathematics and computer science teacher at Kalani High School in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, has been named the 2023 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year. This prestigious recognition celebrates his unwavering commitment to improving student learning and his tireless efforts to uplift the teaching profession through advocacy and collaboration.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the kids. It really means a lot for all of the students I’ve had over the years. All my colleagues who supported me, pushed me to try new things, to challenge me, my administrators… you know, it’s something for everybody. I mean, it’s all theirs, it’s not mine,” expressed an appreciative Ida upon receiving the award.
Governor David Ige and Superintendent Keith Hayashi presented Ida with the Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year honor during a ceremony at Washington Place. Out of over 12,500 educators within the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education, Michael Ida emerged as the standout candidate among the 16 Teachers of the Year representing 15 complex areas and public charter schools.
Superintendent Keith Hayashi commended Ida, stating, “Mike has been a pillar of Kalani High’s math department for nearly three decades, and his passion for teaching has not only guided thousands of students toward success, but he continually strives to lift his fellow teachers in their important work and support them as future leaders. His service and dedication to helping everyone around him achieve higher levels of excellence is truly inspiring, and we salute his outstanding leadership and achievements.”
Michael Ida’s educational background and extensive expertise further solidify his exceptional contributions to the field. Holding a master’s degree and doctorate in applied mathematics from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in secondary education from Boston College, and an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics from the California Institute of Technology, Ida possesses a robust academic foundation.
Colleagues describe the Hawaiʻi Teacher of the Year as a lifelong learner, deeply committed to serving the needs and interests of his students. He has been instrumental in launching the computer science program at Kalani High, which offers project-based learning with real-world applications. Starting with just two introductory sections, the program has since expanded to include two Advanced Placement offerings and an affiliated computer science club, maintaining strong interest and enrollment year after year.
“Mike exhibits so many qualities of a leader: he is an effective communicator and problem-solver who is knowledgeable and takes initiative to help others,” shared one of Ida’s colleagues. “He puts the good of all first, and he works humbly and tirelessly on behalf of our students, teachers, and the education community statewide.”
Beyond his classroom responsibilities, Ida actively supports fellow teachers as leaders and agents of change. His participation in the HIDOE’s Hawaiʻi Teacher Leader Academy and the Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellows program demonstrates his dedication to uplifting the teaching profession and improving educational practices for the benefit of all students.
Michael Ida’s recognition as the 2023 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year not only celebrates his outstanding achievements but also highlights the immeasurable impact he has made on the lives of his students and the education community at large. As he represents Hawaiʻi in the National Teacher of the Year program, Ida’s remarkable dedication and commitment serve as an inspiration for educators across the nation.