UH West Oʻahu Education students Lydia Haff and Liann Sanerivi were selected by their peers to serve as the new Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association (HSTA)/National Education Association Student Program Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, for the 2017-2018 school year.
Haff and Sanerivi will represent the more than 700 college HSTA/National Education Association (NEA) members in university teacher-preparation programs throughout Hawaiʻi. They will work to connect with and make resources and opportunities available to pre-service teachers across the islands via the HSTA and NEA. In their respective leadership roles, the duo will work as liaisons between the HSTA and NEA student programs to advocate for further support for incoming educators.
This was the first year that the HSTA student program held a formal elections process. Education students across the state voted for their representatives. As student program chair, Haff – a Secondary Education/English student – will also sit on the HSTA board of directors to represent Hawaiʻi’s pre-service teachers on the state board.
“By being active members and leaders, we were able to learn about different issues currently affecting the teaching profession in Hawaiʻi and participate in work that benefits and betters the conditions in education here,” Haff said. “My involvement in the teacher’s union (HSTA) has helped to provide context and some real-life experiences for the issues and topics we learn about regarding education policy and current events in our university classes.”
“As the student program chairs, Liann (Elementary Education/Special Education) and I are both hoping to create a more close-knit community between all the university and college teacher preparation programs in the state of Hawaiʻi and to better inform student members in Hawaiʻi of the opportunities, resources, and learning experiences that are available to them,” Haff said. “We are going to work to ensure that students feel welcome in the teaching community in HSTA, so they are able to access and converse with active teachers and gain a better understanding of the profession they have chosen and that their needs are met as members of the HSTA.”