The University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents on Monday welcomed three new members, including KS Senior Director of Community Engagement and Resources for Hawai‘i island Alapaki Nahale-a.
He will fill the Hawai‘i County seat, a volunteer position, for a term that runs through June 30, 2023. In his role on the board, Nahale-a will help shape and implement policies that positively affect the state’s largest institution of higher education for the benefit of Native Hawaiians and all of Hawai‘i.
Also appointed to the 15-member board were former Kaua‘i Fire Chief Robert Frank Westerman (Kaua‘i County) and Kelli K.K. Acopan (Student Regent), who is pursuing her master’s degree in history at UH-Mānoa.
“The new regents bring with them a wide range of experience and the board will benefit greatly from their expertise,” said Board of Regents Chair Lee Putnam. “We look forward to their contributions over the upcoming year.”
Born and raised in Hilo, Nahale-a is a 1986 graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. In his role with KS, he connects programs, services, lands and resources with communities KS interacts with and supports.
He also worked extensively for local charter schools as president and executive director of the Hawai‘i Charter School Network, director of Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School and director of Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Hawaiian Immersion Public Charter School.
He served on a variety of community boards and commissions including chairperson of the County of Hawai‘i Cultural Resources Commission, member of the County Charter Commission, board member of the Boys and Girls club of the Big Island and board member of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.
Former President Barack Obama appointed Nahale-a to serve on the Presidential Scholars Commission where he helped to set commission policy and select top high school scholars from around the country.
Nahale-a will fill outgoing Regent Doug Shinsato’s seat, while Acopan replaces Regent Brandon Higa and Westerman fills a vacant seat.