The Presidential Award serves as a reflection of the multifaceted efforts of educators and island communities to engage our students in lifelong critical thinking and problem solving. Being honored, to me, highlights the fundamental importance of making science and math approachable and accessible to all students, cultivating not only confidence in them, but also a love that can reach far beyond the classroom. 

Fina Leon Guerrero Yona, GU | K-6, Mathematics, 2014

Fina Leon Guerrero has been an educator and advocate for her students over the past 12 years. She has taught in a variety of grade levels in Hawaii and Guam. Fina was also a school guidance counselor for two years. She is currently in her third year of teaching reading, math, language arts, science, and social studies to her fourth grade students at Manual Ulloa Lujan Elementary School. Fina strives to create an environment that encourages cooperative and independent learning by allowing students to construct viable mathematical arguments and critique the reasoning of their peers. Through mathematics, she fosters a confidence in her students, which lets them make sense of any problem and persevere through solving it. She finds fulfillment in seeing her students take control of their learning and strive to go beyond what is expected of them. Through the years, Fina has been a part of several presentations focused on how to use the eight mathematical strategies to add rigor to instruction. She trains fellow teachers on standards-based grading and common formative assessments. Fina has her B.A. in elementary education, magna cum laude, from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She is certified to teach kindergarten through fifth grade. Fina received a M.A. in counseling from the University of Guam and is certified to be a school guidance counselor in grades K-12.