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Hawaii Teacher of the Year Application Information

Overview of the Program

HAHPERD's Teacher of the Year program recognizes outstanding teachers in the following categories:

  • Adapted Physical Education (K-12)
  • Elementary Physical Education (K-5)
  • Middle School Physical Education (6-8)
  • High School Physical Education (9-12)
  • School Health Education (K-12)
  • Dance Education (K-12)

    Individuals who are named Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year by HAHPERD are eligible for SHAPE America's District Teacher of the Year award and have a three-year window to apply at the district level. District winners are eligible for the national award and the same eligibility rules are applied at the national level as the district level.

    Learn more about SHAPE America’s District and National Teacher of the Year Program.

    Eligibility Requirements for Teacher of the Year Awards

    Teachers who meet the eligibility requirements may apply for one of the HAHPERD State Teacher of the Year awards. The same eligibility requirements apply for both SHAPE America District and National Teacher of the Year awards.

    Eligible State Teachers of the Year can apply for the District Teacher of the Year award in their category. HAHPERD membership is not required to apply for the state-level award.

    • Minimum five years of teaching experience in the content area applying for
    • Degree and certification in teaching
    • Full time teaching at time of application submission & selection (Retired teachers are not eligible)
    • Minimum of 50% of total job responsibilities is teaching in the category you're applying for at the time of application and selection:
      • Adapted Physical Education
      • Elementary Physical Education
      • Middle School Physical Education
      • High School Physical Education
      • Dance Education (not as a subject within a Physical Education program)
      • School Health Education

      Please Note: Current HAHPERD Board Members, current HAHPERD Committee Chairs, current members of the HAHPERD Teacher of the Year Committee, current members of SHAPE America's Board of Directors, current members of SHAPE America’s District Leadership Councils, and former national Teachers of the Year are not eligible to apply for these awards.


      1. Collect all of the required application materials. Please visit your state’s teacher of the year webpage for specific materials.

      2. Download and complete the downloadable application form. Once the online application is started progress cannot be saved to finish later.

      3. Submit all of your application materials using the Wufoo online application.

      Required Application Materials

      • Verification of Teaching Assignment Form
      • Award criteria outline (as specified below for each individual award)
      • Professional head shot (JPEG at 300 dpi minimum) for promotional purposes only (e.g., webpage, social media, newsletter)

      Award Criteria

      When completing the award criteria please use the following format: Bold the specific criteria as a heading, then outline your qualifications in paragraph form below the bolded criteria heading (see example below). Responses to each criteria answers should be in one Word document. Please do NOT upload each criteria answer in a separate Word document.

      Example format for Award Criteria:

      1. Conducts a comprehensive and diverse physical education program that utilizes the Essential Components of Physical Education as reflected in the SHAPE America National Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education and other best practices.

      Begin to write your response to criteria prompt 1 in unbold font underneath.

      Scoring Rubrics

      • All applicants are scored anonymously in a blind review.
      • To be considered to move on to the next phase of the competition, a minimum score of 80% is needed. The number of reviewers determines the 80% minimum score. For example, when there are three reviewers in a category or content area, an applicant needs to score at least 55 points to meet the minimum score (max points= 23, 23 x 3= 69, 69 x .80= 55). Please reference the rubric for additional details on how the full 23 points are tallied and to see the minimum and maximum scores for each criteria area.
      • Teaching in a Title I school is often more challenging in many ways. Therefore, teachers that instruct in a Title I school are awarded an additional four points, one time, to their total score.
      • TOY Application Rubrics

              Apply Now!

              Prior to completing the Teacher of the Year online application, applicants should have all required application materials prepared and should complete an offline application (Word version of the online application) and save it.

              Having the offline application will be helpful because once the online application is started progress cannot be saved to finish later.

              State Teacher of the Year Timeline

              • November 15th, 2023Nominations due (Note: Nominations are not required as part of the application process.)
              • January 4thApplications due
              • January 19th: Hawaii State Health and Physical Education Conference: State Teachers of the Year are honored

              Check out our TOY Question and Answer Session

              Hawaii Teacher of the Year Past Award Winners

              Dara Tawarahara, 2020 HAHPERD TOY for Elementary Physical Education

              Dara Tawarahara, who is affectionately known as "Ms. T" by her students, serves Helemano Elementary School as an inspiration and positive role model for physical literacy. As a Physical Education teacher and coach, she encourages all students to develop a strong foundation of movement and positive self-esteem that supports healthy and active lifestyles. Dara's student-centered approach is inclusive of all students and connects with their diverse needs and interests. She regularly motivates students through the use of guiding questions, music, technology, and opportunities for self-assessment. Dara advocates for healthy students and healthy schools, which led to increased brain breaks in class and improved recess opportunities. By improving students' access to recess activities and equipment, students are more ready to learn in class. Her efforts boosted school faculty morale and healthy living through an after school wellness club and staff wellness challenges. Dara contributes to the broader community by volunteering and participating in state and district opportunities, such as Children and Youth Day and fitness events. She also shares her engaging lessons with educators beyond her school by opening her classroom for observations. Mahalo, Dara, for your outstanding contributions to Physical Education!

              Jessica Adkins, 2020 HAHPERD TOY for High School Physical Education

              Jessica Adkins serves Maui High School through her leadership as a Physical Education teacher, department head, and coach. Jessica intentionally designs her lessons to help students from all backgrounds and ability levels to succeed by developing social and emotional learning, positive student interactions, and discussions where all perspectives are valued and respected. Jessica empowers students to develop their voice through her courses, which includes a Unified Leadership Physical Education class. With her guidance, the Unified Leadership students organized youth sports days for neighboring elementary students. Jessica integrates the use of technology, such as Google Classroom and heart rate monitors, to enhance her students' learning experiences in Physical Education. She contributes to her community as an active, positive role model by volunteering for youth clinics and fitness days. Jessica also actively participates in the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program as a Youth Ambassador Mentor and Head of Delegation and consults with educators within and beyond the state of Hawai'i who are interested in bringing this program to their schools. Mahalo, Jessica, for all you do to support your students' physical literacy!

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