2020 Hawai'i ACTE Award Winner - Teacher of the Year

​​Teacher of the Year

This award recognizes the finest career and technical teachers at the middle/secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities.

Douglass McDowell

Honoka'a High and Intermediate School

Recommendation passage written by Alana Haitsuka-Fernandez, Curriculum Coordinator

“You know that feeling when your mentee becomes your inspiration? I do, because it happened to me. When I first met Doug McDowell, I was the CTE Coordinator and Department Head at our small, rural, Title One school in the middle of the Big Island of Hawaii. He was a few years behind me in experience, and I can remember him working long hours planning, and asking me when teaching would get easier? I think I laughed at him saying it doesn’t, because you’re never done, you are always evolving and growing.


If I was right in my first response to him saying that teaching requires constant evolution and growth, then Doug has nailed it. I’ve watched him step up along the way taking on new responsibilities ranging from Department Head, Title One Grant Manager, Accreditation Chair, CTE Coordinator, and even a brief stint as Vice Principal. Doug continues to be offered new opportunities and positions, but he has intentionally chosen to keep teaching as his primary position. He feels strongly that it is where he currently belongs and wants to be, which speaks to his commitment to the profession.”


Recommendation passage written by Daycie DeLuz, Honoka’a High Class of 2019

It is through his endless support and capabilities as both a teacher and a person that has greatly assisted me into enrolling in the college of my dreams and developing into the person that I am today. Mr. McDowell is certainly a one-of-a-kind bona fide teacher who has continuously demonstrated his excellence as an educator, both in and outside of the academic workspace. He is well-established as one of the most positive and influential role models among the students at Honoka’a as well as a critical pillar of support to Honoka’a’s CTE program. His commitment to providing a quality education in addition to his upbeat attitude and earnest personality are only some of the qualities that make him such a highly-respected and well-adored figure in both the school and the community.


Within the three years I spent as his student, I have had the absolute privilege and honor to get to know Doug McDowell and he has changed not just my life, but the lives of many youth during his fruitful career of teaching. The greatest attribute of Doug McDowell lies not in his technical skills as an artist or his but is his tireless dedication to his students. Very rarely do you find a teacher as humble, patient, and compassionate as McDowell who can connect to students on such a personal emotional level that it is impossible to feel anything other than encouragement and support within his classroom. He has never turned a student down, no matter how “challenging” the student is seen is as by others, and he has, and still does, always I cannot rave enough about the praises that this remarkable man deserves and it is with my greatest hope that he is recognized for his amazing actions.