Esmeralda Carini, a PhD student in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education (COE) Department of Curriculum Studies, was awarded the International Literacy Association Corwin Literacy Award. The award is presented to a district or school administrative literacy leader who has recognized the importance of building a culture of literacy within a school or district.
“I am so proud to be a recipient of this award as it allows me to highlight the incredible work we have been doing in my complex area around teacher collaboration and leadership,” Carini said.
Carini holds a multiple subject teaching license from the Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board, a multiple subject California credential and a master of education degree in curriculum studies from the COE. She is the literacy district educational specialist as well as the English language district lead in the Kailua Kalāheo Complex Area.
Institute for Teacher Education-Secondary Director Charlotte Frambaugh-Kritzer, Carini’s advisor, said, “I was not surprised to hear that Esmeralda won this award. She has a steel hand, yet wears a velvet glove. I use this analogy because she gets literacy enterprises accomplished here in Hawaiʻi that others cannot, and she does it all with an unassuming gentle force. Her implementation of the Hawaiʻi Lab Cohort (HLC) is truly inspiring. I’m so proud of her.”
Part of a team of content experts, Carini is the creator and lead mentor of the HLC in the Hawaiʻi Department of Education. HLC is comprised of teacher learning communities that offer job-embedded, differentiated approaches to professional learning for teachers to keep them renewed and accountable to continuous learning and growth in their profession.
“Without the people at the COE, I would not be doing the work I do,” Carini added. “I am particularly indebted to Charlotte Frambaugh-Kritzer, Andrea Bartlett, Stephanie Buelow, Anne Freese and Paul Deering. They have helped me to flourish in my role and to make a national impact. Rather than following what other states are doing, we are setting a new standard, and mainland states are looking to replicate our work—yeah Hawaiʻi!”
Carini says she plans to continue working with teams of innovative, passionate individuals in the schools to implement strong literacy practices and develop models for effective professional learning for the 21st century.
Founded as the International Reading Association, the International Literacy Association has worked to enhance literacy instruction through research and professional development for more than 60 years.