A dual university of Hawaii At the Mānoa College of Education (COE), Alumna received the National Presidential Prize for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education (PAEMST). Tessie Ford has been a teacher for all grades at Waipahu High School since 2013 and teaches engineering, technology, physics and astronomy, among other things. Ford earned her bed in high school with a focus on physics as well as her MEd in the STEM² program for curriculum studies.
The PAEMST Awards are the highest honors the US government has given to K-12 teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math, and computer science.
“Tessie is a passionate, intelligent, dedicated and inspiring educator who, through teaching physics and robotics, has increased the quality, accuracy and enjoyment of science teaching and learning at Waipahu High School,” said COE professor Tara O’Neill, Director of the STEMS² master concentration. “She is a transformative educator who is constantly trying to expand her own knowledge and encouraging her students to expect more from themselves. Tessie gives her students the opportunity to see a future in the STEM areas. “
Ford said she had many great, caring teachers who were passionate about what they taught and who served as inspiration. She taught and mentored students on the path to becoming a teacher themselves, which reinforced her dream of helping and influencing others. Ford credits her trust in participating and presenting in professional development activities, international STEM competitions, and national conferences to receiving her degree from UH Mānoa.
Speaking of her time at COE, Ford said, “Both during my BEd program Baby davis and Tara O’Neill gave me great advice and modeled teaching strategies that I still use today. Bebe encouraged me to get involved through robotics, science Olympics, etc., and that’s where I saw how fulfilling it was to be a bigger part of a school. When I was in Tara’s STEMS² program for my Masters, everything from the types of location / project-based lessons we had to how close our cohort got to the importance of relationship building and a deep understanding of why the Students need to learn something more evident. “