Art Kimura of the Hilo High School class of 1962 and his wife, Rene, were recognized as 2014 Living Treasures of Hawaii recently at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. The Living Treasures of Hawaii program created by the Honpa Hongwani Mission of Hawaii in 1976, annually honors individual who “demonstrate continuous growth in his or her field, have made significant contributions toward a more humane and fraternal society, and have shown an ongoing striving for excellence and a high level of accomplishment.”
Art was formerly a biology teacher at McKinley High School, and served as vice principal at Keaau Elementary and Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary Schools, before retiring from the Hawaii Department of Education. Art also retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Hawaii Air National Guard.
Both are educational specialists with the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, University of Hawaii (http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/), and coordinate the now 24-year-old Future Flight Hawaii program, which includes summer camps, and an extensive outreach program including family science nights. They also helped initiate the Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day and the Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery, and have been instrumental in the initiation of scholastic robotics in Hawaii.
Art represented Hawaii in the NASA Teacher in Space Project and has received recognition as a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the Civil Air Patrol national Crown Circle Award, the Air Force Association Christa McAuliffe Award, and Biology Teacher of the Year.
Rene received the national Women in Aerospace Educator Award after being nominated by Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan. Art and Rene were named to the VEX Hall of Fame as Volunteers of the Year at theWorld VEX Robotics Tournament and were honored by the Board of Education with a special recognition certificate. They also initiated a global exchange program which includes Hawaii students and teachers attending annually the Japan Super Science Fair where students and teachers from 19 countries convene in Kyoto, Japan for a week of inspiration and collaboration.