The composition of the Native Hawaiian Education Council as defined in the Native Hawaiian Education Act establishes a membership of not more than 21 individuals. At least 10 members of the Education Council shall be Native Hawaiian education service providers and 10 members shall be Native Hawaiians or Native Hawaiian education consumers. In addition, a representative from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs shall serve as a member of the Education Council.
Dr. Lisa Watkins-Victorino is the Office of Hawaiian Affairs representative on the Native Hawaiian Education Council and brings impressive academic credentials to the Council. Lisa was appointed to the position of Ka Ou Kihi Kane (Research Director) in April 2012. Prior to joining the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, she was an Educational Officer/Evaluation Assistant in the Hawai‘i Department of Education Systems Evaluation and Reporting Section. Lisa was also a Jr. Specialist/Program Assistant with the University of Hawai‘i Social Welfare Evaluation and Research Unit and was lecturer at the School of Social Work.
Clarence DeLude serves as the Oahu Island Council Chair and its designated representative to NHEC. He is retired from the Hawaii Department of Education and is an active member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I.
Kamuela Chun is the Director of the Achieving the Dream program at the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges, a nationwide initiative aimed at helping more community college students to succeed. He assisted in the creation of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and currently sits on its Advisory Council.
Kamuela has been involved in Native Hawaiian education and culture for more than 40 years. In 2005, he was named Educator of the Year by the Native Hawaiian Education Association. He is a renowned kumu hula and chanter and is often called upon to provide protocol for cultural events. Kamuela was one of those originally appointed to the Native Hawaiian Education Council in 1997.
Nāmaka Rawlins is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations at ʻAha Pūnana Leo. She previously served as its Executive Director for 18 years and was instrumental in transforming the Native Hawaiian preschools into a national model for Native language education. From the Hawaiian Homesteads of Keaukaha and Panaʻewa in Hilo, Nāmaka is a graduate of the Kamehameha School for Girls and the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Hawaiian Language College. She has been involved with Pūnana Leo and Hawaiian language revitalization as a volunteer in the preschool in Hilo since 1984 while she was a student at the university. ʻAha Pūnana Leo is part of a comprehensive P-20 indigenous system of education using Hawaiian as the medium of instruction.
Throughout her career, Nāmaka has been at the forefront of the language revitalization movement on many levels: teaching, coordinating programs on five islands, and advocating for public policy that supports the preservation of indigenous languages. In 2014, she organized the National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs. Nāmaka has served on the board of directors of the National Indian Education Association, the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relation’s Language Access Advisory Council, the State Early Learning Advisory Board, and has been a member of the Native Hawaiian Education Council since 1997. Nāmaka believes it is important that a representative of the comprehensive indigenous system of education serves on the Council to express the needs of Hawaiian speaking children and families at the local and national levels. In October 2015, the National Indian Education Association honored Nāmaka for all of her work with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
After earning Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Utah State University, Maggie Hanohano returned home to work in the Hawai‘i Department of Education as a pre-K-12 special education teacher and district and State Resource Teacher. She experienced a renewal of her cultural identity as a part of Hui ‘Imi Na‘auao o Hawai‘i under the guidance of Donald Kilolani Mitchell, who believed that Hawaiian culture was vitally important to our keiki. Maggie always encouraged cultural pride in her students and taught them to behave as an ‘ohana. Maggie was Heluhelu Coordinator for Pihana Nā Mamo: The Native Hawaiian Special Education Project, with the mission to deliver educational services to children and youth of Hawaiian ancestry with special needs, and was responsible for coordinating reading programs.
More than anything else, Maggie hopes to see the reading scores of Hawaiian youngsters improve through building reading skills, vocabulary, and general knowledge. She firmly believes that children must be able to read if they are to succeed in life and that literacy must be the foundation for continuing improvement in Native Hawaiians’ educational outcomes. Maggie has been active on the Native Hawaiian Education Council since it’s beginning in 1997.
Dr. Keoni Bunag is the Po‘o Kula (Head of School) of Hālau Kū Māna New Century Public Charter School. He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and earned his Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California. Keoni has held key positions with Kamehameha Schools as the Director of Operations and Assistant Director of the Enrichment Department for the Extension Education Division.
Keoni brings to the Native Hawaiian Education Council a wealth of experience and knowledge in developing and delivering Hawaiian culture-based educational programming for middle and high school students, program evaluation, and data collection, analysis, and reporting. In addition, he is also a lecturer in Hawaiian Studies at Leeward Community College. Keoni is an advocate of Hawaiian language immersion programs and a parent of two.
Danny Cup Choy is the Government Affairs Manager for ‘Ohana Health Plan, where he leads the company’s legislative and policy efforts. In his career, he has held several government affairs positions, including working as the Director of Policy & Advocacy for the National Indian Education Association in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Danny enjoyed a brief stint as a Community Development Specialist with the Native Hawaiian Education Council. He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Education from Loyola Marymount University. Danny was recently honored as the Healthcare Heroes Community Outreach winner for Pacific Business News’ Healthiest Employers & Healthcare Heroes 2015.
Paula De Morales has taught Hawaiian Language, Hawaiian Studies and Modern History of Hawai‘i at Kohala High & Elementary, Hilo High School and Waiākea High School from 1969 through 2001, when she retired from the Hawai‘i Department of Education. She currently works with the Kamehameha Schools Kauhale Kīpaipai and the Hawai‘i Department of Education to provide cultural professional development for teachers new to an area through the Kahua Program, as well as cultural professional development to leadership teams through the Ho‘okele Program.
An advocate for culture-based education for many years, Paula has been a major part of the Nā Honua Mauli Ola team since 2000, the Coordinator of Kū Ha‘aheo, a NHEA-funded grant from 2000-2003, and has been participating and presenting at the National Indian Education Association convention and the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education for several years. She also worked at Bishop Museum after graduating from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and minor in Anthropology. Paula has served as a member of the Native Hawaiian Education Council since 1997.
Ni’ihau Island Council
Kahea Faria is an Assistant Specialist in the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She is currently the only native speaker of the Hawaiian language in the College of Education in Hawai‘i, and is fortunate to be working with the last aboriginal, commonly referred to as, Native Hawaiian speaking community in the world through the duties and responsibilities of her position within the College of Education. Kahea is committed to the advancement of aboriginal Hawaiians through education. Kahea currently serves as the Secretary for the Ni‘ihau Island Council and its designated representative on the Native Hawaiian Education Council.
Aunty Betty Jenkins has been an educator for over 35 years, first in Ohio, then California, Micronesia, Guam and finally home in Hawai’i. She was a member of the HIDOE State Language Arts Team, a Title I Teacher, and a 3-on-2 Team Teacher, before retiring from her formal teaching career as one of the founders of Hālau o Hale‘iwa at Hale‘iwa Elementary School on O‘ahu’s North Shore.
After retirement, Aunty Betty worked with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, partnering with the State Hawaiian Studies Program that took her traveling statewide to meet a host of kupuna who she learned to honor, respect and admire. She became involved with many organizations during that time and was appointed to the Native Hawaiian Education Council in 1997. Aunty Betty is always generous with her time and wisdom, volunteering with Papa Ola Lokahi, ‘Imi Ke Ola Mau, Ho‘omau Ke Ola, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Ahahui Ka‘ahumanu Honolulu Chapter, and Kamakani o Waimea. Aunty Betty’s involvement with the Native Hawaiian Education Council has always been with the highest regard and respect for “kupuna wisdom” and she prides herself on being an advocate for the elders of our community. She says she has witnessed change, growth and many successes throughout the years, always with the understanding of our Hawaiian education styles and integration of cultural values, which are not always understood by western educators.
Dr. Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a resides in Keaukaha on Hawai‘i island. She currently serves as the Director of Ka Haka ‘Ula o Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Keiki’s ‘ohana is one of the pioneering families of the Hawaiian immersion education movement and mauli ola education P-20. Her professional experience includes the K-12 classroom, curriculum and program development, teacher preparation and professional development.
Keiki has been instrumental in the development of the Nā Honua Mauli Ola Hawaiian guidelines and cultural pathways and the Moenahā culture-based curriculum design and instructional method. She is a published author and has been an invited speaker at national and international gatherings addressing Indigenous education, language and culture revitalization, native teacher education and Hawaiian and culture-based education. Keiki has received several honors for her work in education, including the National Indian Education Association Educator of the Year, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and Innovation, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ Kukui Mālamalama for Excellence in Hawaiian Education, and the Kamehameha Schools Ipu Kā‘eo Native Hawaiian Education Award. Keiki has served on the Native Hawaiian Education Council since 1997.
Wendy Mow-Taira has worked on behalf of children and families her entire life. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Masters degree in Social Work, both from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, she worked in several domestic violence and child abuse programs. She was Executive Director of the Family Crisis Shelter, Inc. on Hawai‘i Island, then later worked at PATCH (People Attentive to Children), a resource and referral program for young families needing child care information, and ALU LIKE, Inc. in the Native Hawaiian Early Childhood Consortium. Wendy currently works with middle and high school students under the TRIO program at Windward Community College, where she assists low-income students prepare for college. Throughout her career, she has gained experience with early childhood, K-12 and post-high education programs.
As a Council Member, Wendy is interested in helping to further the coordination of programs receiving funds through the Native Hawaiian Education Act to help Native Hawaiian communities provide input on what programs they feel are needed. She is also working towards Nā Honua Mauli Ola being incorporated into educational curriculum for all, not just Hawaiian students.
Dr. Larson Ng is an Educational Specialist in the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. As a researcher, he actively conducts and publishes research in the fields of business and economic sustainability literacy and curriculum development; Native Hawaiian education and program evaluation; and community leadership and management. He also has and continues to teach courses in research methodology, leadership, and economics in the College of Education’s graduate programs. Larson rounds his academic regimen by occasionally serving as a board member in both the business and education arena.
Outside of academia, Larson spends a great deal of time serving the Native Hawaiian community. As an advocate of sustainable economic growth, he frequently gives guest interviews on local community television sharing how Hawai‘i can ensure its 21st century long-term prosperity by simply taking those steps to re-engineer its current economic base. Larson also serves as a strong advocate and proponent of utilizing those pedagogies and content-based curriculum responsive of the educational needs of Native Hawaiian.
Ka’iulani Pahi‘ō comes to the Native Hawaiian Education Council with a wealth of knowledge about culture-based education. Ka‘iulani is Program Coordinator of Statewide Initiatives at Kanu o ka ‘Āina Learning ‘Ohana, a Hawai‘i Island-based non-profit with the mission to “grow womb-to-tomb models of education that advance Hawaiian culture for a sustainable Hawai‘i.” She is also a coordinator for Nā Lei Na‘auao Native Hawaiian Charter School Alliance. Ka‘iulani has served as the Hawai‘i Island Council Chair and its designated representative to the Native Hawaiian Education Council since 2009.
Kainoa Pali is currently the acting Vice Principal at Moloka‘i High School where he was a 1994 graduate. Being the eldest of three boys, his parents Henry Pali Jr. and Sherilyne Pali instilled the values of hard work, education, and family. The very fundamental values that Kainoa grew up with have resonated towards his own family, work, and community.
Kainoa obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Hawaiian Studies as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Secondary Education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Upon completion, he returned home to Moloka‘i where he has been teaching for the last 14 years. Kainoa started his career in the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program at Kualapu‘u Elementary School and found his passion in teaching Hawaiian Language and Social Studies at Moloka‘i High School. He currently resides on homestead land in Kalama‘ula Ma Uka with his wife and two young children. He serves as the Chairperson of Kamehameha Schools Hui for Moloka‘i and is currently working with Moloka‘i community members to develop a soccer league for Moloka‘i’s young children. Kainoa is the Chair for the Moloka‘i Island Council and serves as its designated representative to the Native Hawaiian Education Council.