When Ken Kang started Aiea High School’s first STEM class in 2015, the dozen seniors had little experience in coding, programming, or using math and science to drive innovation. Kang, the school’s technology coordinator, engaged the students with interactive lessons, mentoring them, fostering innovation and creativity in tackling relevant real-world challenges, and encouraging them to think outside the box and persevere. At the end of the year, students presented capstone projects on medical and environmental issues that included technological systems, products and programs driven by algorithms and the scientific process. All of the students graduated with STEM honors, and several went on to prestigious colleges and military service academies.
Students and staff turn to Kang for leadership and guidance with technology and beyond. Kang helped Aiea incorporate AppleTV in its 60 classrooms, empowering teachers to increase student engagement. Always looking for ways to improve teachers’ communication and collaboration, he incorporated and trained Aiea’s staff on Google Classroom, Google Docs and Infinite Campus, a new grading system. Kang runs district-level workshops to help all the schools in Aiea Principal Complex integrate technology and has helped upgrade intercom and phone systems, digital marquees and computer software. He serves on Aiea’s academic review team, community council and leadership team. Kang sponsors many clubs and works with students to build models and robots and create a culture of innovation at Aiea.
Kang is passionate about giving back to the Aiea community and knows firsthand how important education is to students’ long-term success. When his family arrived in Hawaii from Korea, Kang was an English language learner and qualified for free and reduced lunch. He graduated from Aiea High School, went to college and worked as an electrical engineer before transitioning to the classroom. Kang co-chairs Aiea’s academic review team, collaborating with colleagues to improve student achievement. He leads Tech Nights to increase technology awareness in the community, especially important to families who lack access to equipment or the internet. The school culture promotes Achievement, Integrity and Relationships (AIR); Kang excels at all three.
A graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kang earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1997 and a post-baccalaureate degree in secondary education and educational technology in 2005.
"[During my first year] I realized that not everything in teaching is perfect and orderly. The sun and the moon will not always be in..." (read more)