Dr. Wai‘ale‘ale Sarsona is vice president of Kamehameha Schools’ new Hi‘ialo Group. The word “hi‘ialo” speaks to how one carries and nurtures something precious. The Hi‘ialo Group fosters the holistic development of Native Hawaiians as local and global leaders from early learning through adulthood.
As part of Hi‘ialo, Sarsona oversees Nā Kula Kamali‘i o Kamehameha — KS’ 29 Hawaiian-focused preschools statewide, and Kealaiwikuamo‘o — the KS division that supports Hawai‘i’s network of Native Hawaiian schools. She also guides Kamehameha’s educational policy and advocacy efforts.
Sarsona has held several leadership positions since joining KS in 2012. Before being named Hi‘ialo Group VP, she served as managing director of KS’ Kūamahi Community Education Division, interim VP of Strategic Planning Implementation and Community Education, and as director of KS’ Ho‘olako Like Division supporting Hawaiian-focused public charter schools.
Prior to joining the KS ‘ohana she was chief of staff for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. She also served as the Po‘o Kula of Ke Kula O Samuel M. Kamakau Hawaiian language immersion public charter school. Early in her career she was the CEO of INPEACE a Native Hawaiian education non-profit, where she focused on expanding early learning in Hawaiian homestead communities.
Sarsona holds a Doctorate of Education degree in educational professional practice and a Master of Education degree in private school leadership from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, an M.B.A from Hawai‘i Pacific University and a bachelor’s degree in education — with emphasis on Hawaiian language and culture — from UH Mānoa.