LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Amy Boehning

Position: Social Studies Teacher
School: Mililani High School
School District: Hawaii Public Schools
City, State: Mililani, HI

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Amy Boehning was nominated by her colleague, Amy Perruso.

Mrs. Boehning was told she would not graduate from high school, let alone college, because she suffers from dyslexia and struggled with academics. She recognized she could overcome her challenges and not only became a National Board Certified teacher, but one of the best teachers in the state of Hawaii, and in the country. Her excellence and capacity to change students' lives stems not simply from deep content knowledge in history and the social sciences, highly developed pedagogical practices, and most importantly, compassion. She has turned her challenge into her superpower. She is the teacher who sees the talents and spark in every single student, and she makes it her mission to help each student realize their potential. In that way, she changes their lives. 

The work for which she is most widely renowned is History Day. It has become a true testament to her love for historical inquiry and her belief that young people can only become effective citizens if they are curious about history and knowledgeable about its complexity. Her ability to work magic is a result of her compassion for the teachers and students. She works long, hard hours to make sure all students, grades 4-12, come to their History Day Fair with a project they can be proud. She does this by gently questioning, nudging students towards stronger sources, and honoring student arguments if they are supported with good evidence. Mrs. Boehning is beloved by students and teachers alike on campus because she reminds them they can and should excel, and that the path lies through honoring their shared humanity. She not only makes students 'feel' seen and heard, but insists they ARE seen and heard, and that their work is given the respect of constructive criticism and celebration. She is an amazing teacher because she is an amazing human.

During her 24 years in the classroom, Mrs. Boehning has taught a variety of subjects such as world history, civics, and geography. She has a wide range of experience in terms of teaching, from advanced placement courses to inclusion courses for special education students. Currently, she is teaching United States History, Humanities, and Asian Studies. For her teaching excellence, she received the 2005 Hawaii Council for the Humanities' Hawaii History Day Teacher of the Year award, as well as the 2010 Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award for Hawaii. Recently, she was recognized by the Naval Historical Foundation as a teacher of distinction two years in a row. She was a Hawaii National History Day (NHD) ambassador and a NHD Behring Teacher Fellow. As the fellow, she conducted training for new NHD teacher ambassadors, presented on historical research skills at a National Archives teacher workshop, and co-presented for a NHD national contest teacher workshop. For the last 16 years, she has led professional development workshops on historical research skills at every academic level and continually mentors fellow teachers statewide. For seven years, she volunteered to mentor 4th and 5th graders in researching and writing. She is a social studies teacher leader who participated in the development and assessment of the Hawaii U.S. History end- of-course examination, as well as the writing of the new Hawaii Social Studies Content and Performance Standards. In addition, she is a board member for the Hawaii Council of the Humanities. She holds a B.A. in secondary education with a concentration in social studies and a minor in history from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Comments (1)

Crystal Doi Posted over a year ago

24 years of teaching?! Wow! Keep doing what you are doing to support our keiki! You are awesome!