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Kā‘eo Duarte serves as VP of KS’ new Community Engagement and Resources Group, a nexus of education services and ʻāina stewardship in communities KS seeks to serve. Above, Duarte speaks at the grand opening blessing of Kamehameha’s West Hawai‘i regional offices in 2014.

Community Engagement and Resources Group sharpening its focus

Oct. 6, 2015

A new Kamehameha Schools group will serve as a nexus of education services and ʻāina stewardship within the communities KS seeks to support and elevate. This is the first time that an operational focus on education, ʻāina and community has been added to the top line of KS’ organizational structure.

The establishment of the Community Engagement and Resources Group (CE&R) was a bold decision tied to Kamehameha’s recently delivered strategic plan for 2015–2020. The new group illustrates a new organizational paradigm that focuses on hitting educational targets collectively, with partners, while aligning KS and community resources within nine regions statewide.   

“Unleashing the regional structure” is one of the Ten Actions for fiscal year 2015-16. The action calls for embedding a regional approach in KS operations and building out three regions – two existing and one new – with staff, plans and targets.

“Our group’s goal is to realize maximum relevance of Kamehameha’s functions and resources in each region to ensure that our collective action across Hawai‘i is done with well-informed and grounded data, communication and accountability,” said Kā‘eo Duarte, vice president of Community Engagement and Resources.

‘Eiwa Māhele, Hoʻokahi Pahuhopu
(Nine Regions, One Goal)

“With Kā‘eo’s leadership, we kicked off this fiscal year aiming to solidify our existing regional teams in West Hawai‘i and Wai‘anae,” said Jamee Miller, interim senior director and director of education initiatives of Kamehameha’s West Hawai‘i region.

“During the transition to regional operations, we’ve been working on laying the foundations for a new systems and a community portfolio-based approach to managing Kamehameha’s assets and programs in each region.”

The remaining seven regions – mirroring geographic boundaries of the Hawai‘i Department of Education – will be strategically brought on board in phases over the next two years. These include East Hawai‘i; the Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i complex; Honolulu; Central O‘ahu; North Shore O‘ahu; Windward O‘ahu and the Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau complex.

“Our group is blessed with more than 90 passionate and talented staff within the fields of education, culture, land management, sustainability, planning, water resources, environment and community collaboration,” Duarte said. “Coming from diverse, formerly separate KS teams, they will all be situated within two broad areas – Regional Strategies and Statewide Operations.” 

Within CE&R’s Regional Strategies function, four island-based teams – on Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Maui and Kauaʻi – consisting of asset management, education and support services staff will work together on region-focused initiatives.  The group’s remaining departments – Natural and Cultural Resources, Leases and Transactions, and ‘Āina Engagement – remain a hui in Statewide Operations, with kuleana cutting across all regions.

All will be tasked with identifying and implementing strategies that contribute to collective efforts to improve well-being for Pauahi’s Native Hawaiian learners and the communities and lands they live in.

Nā Kaʻakālai 
(Strategies)

“The CE&R group is all about engaging with people and place.” said Kalei Ka‘ilihiwa, director of community programs in the Wai‘anae region. “Our regional strategies will bring focus to our understanding of community strengths and challenges in each region.”

Reflecting its underlying drivers, CE&R’s partners and priority actions may differ from region to region.

This is a response to the educational needs, community realities, and resources of both collaborators and KS that are available in each specific region. As an example, plans for the West Hawai‘i region are significantly influenced by the presence of nearly 60 percent of Kamehameha’s total landholdings.

Under Ka‘ilihiwa and Miller’s direction, strategies for implementation on the Wai‘anae Coast and in West Hawaiʻi drive toward: (1) enhancing family engagement, postsecondary success, and career pathways; (2) catalyzing collective impact and community partnerships; (3) advancing a regional network of cutting-edge learning sites and facilities; and (4) innovating and expanding Hawaiian culture-based education programs and resources.

“The well-being of ‘āina, community and learners is intimately linked,” Duarte said.  “It’s the education, health, natural resource, cultural resource, economic and other societal systems that drive the well-being of communities, families and learners.

“Conversely, healthy learners and families are the drivers of healthy sustainable networks, lands and ecosystems. These are the systems that we want to be able to impact through community-based and locally driven solutions. This is the only way we can hope to achieve our ambitious Vision 2040 for a thriving Lāhui.”

‘Umia Ka Hanu
(Continue, Keep Going)

It’s been little more than a year since Kamehameha Schools implemented its regional operating system in West Hawai‘i – a transition that reorganized all KS operations, resources, and functions into one kauhale (office space) in preparation for Kamehameha’s new regional approach. Staffers are adapting to the change.

“I was at first a little anxious, but once we started getting settled in, I began to understand where I fit and how my role supports Kamehameha in the community,” said Connie Hunnings, West Hawai‘i administrative coordinator. “Just that understanding reinforced my excitement in seeing this come to fruition.”

On the Wai‘anae Coast, community engagement went into practice in 2009 through Ka Pua, a KS initiative driven by a vision for the area’s children to be connected to their place, supported in learning, and succeeding as future local and global leaders. It is a vision that readily aligned with the goals and objectives of SP2020, resulting in a modest change to operations and structure.

“Our daily activities have not changed.  In fact, the only change is now that we’re in CE&R, our work in Wai‘anae is now better supported with kōkua from other departments within our hui (group),” Ka‘ilihiwa said.

“I meet with a different mix of people, now. I get to sit with and strategize with my new coworkers who manage KS lands and serve other segments of our Lāhui. They have been a tremendous help and have infused a different perspective in my work that had been missing. While KS continues to refine what we do in the nine regions and how we describe it, I know that the result will get us in a better position to achieve our mission.”

Ka Nānā I Mua
(Looking Ahead)

While the general structure of CE&R was instituted in July 2015, gradual adjustments to that structure are to be expected.

CE&R is in the process of recruiting senior directors for Oʻahu island and Hawaiʻi island, as well as a director of the ‘Āina Engagement Department. Once the three po‘o (directors) are hired, many critical pieces of CE&R’s organization structure can be assembled.

Our group’s goal is to realize maximum relevance of Kamehameha’s functions and resources in each region to ensure that our collective action across Hawai‘i is done with well-informed and grounded data, communication and accountability.
Kāʻeo Duarte, Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources.
Our group’s goal is to realize maximum relevance of Kamehameha’s functions and resources in each region to ensure that our collective action across Hawai‘i is done with well-informed and grounded data, communication and accountability.
Kāʻeo Duarte, Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources.


TAGS:
ce&r, community engagement and resources, sp 2020, strategic plan, land, agriculture, special event

CATEGORIES:
Newsroom, Community Education, Organization Change, Strategic Plan

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