Kisa Matlin named Leeward District ‘Teacher of Promise’


Photo courtesy of Rachel Domingo

Matlin celebrates with the Academy of Natural Resources. Front row (left to right): Rachel Domingo, Tyrha Oasay, Kisa Matlin, Sherry Tenn, Matthew Mitsuyuki. Back row (left to right): Meryl Matsumura, Katheryne Huihui, Tamra Nakai, James Fitzpatrick, Brooke Kanaeholo, Darlene Dumlao, Kevin Sledge

Academy of Natural Resources (ANR) teacher Kisa Matlin received the Leeward District’s “Teacher of Promise” Award from the Milken Educators of Hawaii and HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union on April 12. The Teacher of Promise Award honors classroom teachers who have shown great promise in their first three years on the job.

Matlin went to the cafeteria straight out of the ANR garden for a faculty meeting on the 12th, without knowing that the meeting was scheduled to recognize her. Matlin was “very surprised” when she found out that she won the Teacher of Promise Award. 

During the pandemic, Matlin’s Natural Resources Production students developed products such as a pohinahina skin salve to sell. The students worked on developing and marketing the products with guidance from American Savings Bank, while Matlin and fellow ANR teachers helped to assemble them.

Matlin is inspired by her former teachers because to her, “Education isn’t really something you can pay back. I can’t give back the knowledge I gain. But I can pay it forward,” she says.

Her coworkers and students are another source of inspiration for her. Matlin is motivated by “seeing the hard work you students put in to assignments. The students are so motivated.”