Kamehameha Schools has named Kēhau Abad, Ph.D., Network of Native Hawaiian Schools director. The new position and division of the Community Education Department is part of KS’ new organizational structure under the KS Education System. Abad spent the last three years as director of Community Engagement for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Abad will lead KS’ efforts to engage Native Hawaiian schools in the design and development of an integrated network that advances culture-based education in Hawaiʻi.
“The objective is to facilitate, develop and implement a collective vision for the network,” said Community Education Managing Director Waiʻaleʻale Sarsona.
“I am confident that Kēhau will ensure practical integration and application of the network’s activities with KS’ educational programs, collaborations and cultural and land stewardship activities to give the network the life and purpose we hoped it would have.”
The Network of Native Hawaiian Schools speaks directly to KS’ SP2020 goal to deliver world-class, culture-based education through a network of Native Hawaiian schools, including KS schools and Native Hawaiian charter and immersion schools.
While collaboration with Hawaiian-focused charter and immersion schools is not new to Kamehameha, the facilitation and collective process to set shared goals and identify shared measures, is.
“Members will set the course for the network,” Abad said. “Our job as staff will be to facilitate network plans to arrive at those identified destinations. The journey will be quickened by the ongoing successes of each of the network’s members. Experiences of one can guide others – in this way the varied strengths of each kula can bolster the entire network.”
Abad’s outlook for the network includes the impact it will play in Native Hawaiian student success.
“As the network becomes a strong, cohesive body, we believe it will play a significant role in helping our Hawaiian-focused schools collectively reach even higher levels of excellence,” she said.
Abad is a 1982 graduate of Kamehameha Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and anthropology and a master’s and doctorate in Hawaiian archaeology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
In her volunteer capacity, she has regularly assisted communities in preserving significant Hawaiian cultural and burial sites. Abad’s experience also includes serving as director of Kamehameha Publishing and as a Hawaiian culture and history teacher at KS Kapālama High School.