I am deeply humbled to receive the Presidential Award and represent Lehua Elementary School. This award serves as added motivation to continue finding new ways to make mathematics engaging and enjoyable for my students, so they can find the confidence to excel in whatever path they choose in life. I am grateful for each and every colleague, friend, family member, and student that has helped me reach where I am today.

Daniel Taira Pearl City, HI | K-6, Mathematics, 2018

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Daniel Taira has been an educator for nine years serving at Lehua Elementary School. He has spent the last four years teaching fifth grade mathematics and science. In previous years, he has taught second and fourth grade. Daniel strives to create a classroom environment where students problem solve collaboratively and share their strategies with one another. He fosters a positive growth mindset in his students so that each can be successful. Students are encouraged to see mistakes not as failure, but a necessary part of the process of learning. Daniel co-leads Lehua's Math Olympiad team, which competes with other local elementary schools in a variety of mathematics-based events. Students must persevere through challenging problems while working under a time limit. His team has earned multiple trophies recently and is a source of pride for all involved. Daniel has participated in a variety of professional development opportunities to further his education and continue to grow as a teacher. These include Visible Learning, Leader in Me, Singapore Math, and project-based learning. Daniel received his B.Ed., cum laude, in elementary education from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. He is currently certified to teach kindergarten through sixth grade.