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More than 400 staffers participated in the professional development day dubbed “Kula Hawai‘i 2021” on Monday, Nov. 29, at KS Kapālama. Participants had the option to engage in huaka‘i at 11 ʻāina-based learning sites from Hale‘iwa to Mokauea, and attend virtual, in-person or hybrid learning and wellness sessions. Above, keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Kaiali‘i Kahele and Po‘o Kula Dr. Taran Chun KSK’95 (back) with members of Kahele’s staff who are KS alumni. They are: Hanalē Lee Loy KSH’15, Zoe Leonard KSH’15, Jasmine Branco KSK’99, Dave Chun KSK’70, Roz Makāula KSK’91, Ikaika Mahoe KSH’06 and Mike Contrades KSK’88.

KS Kapālama staff engage in professional development powered by E Ola!

Nov. 30, 2021

As part of a shared kuleana, Kamehameha Schools employees – in particular kumu and school staff – are dedicated to educating haumāna through Hawaiian culture-based education so they can succeed in E Ola! learner outcomes demonstrating readiness to serve as ‘ōiwi leaders.

More than 400 kumu and school staff participated in the professional development day dubbed “Kula Hawai‘i 2021” on Monday, Nov. 29, at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. The event kicked off in the Ke‘elikōlani Auditorium with opening protocol performed by KS Kapālama Hawaiian Ensemble haumāna led by Kumu Hula Kaleo Trinidad KSK’93 focusing on the effects that climate change has on the environment, and was followed by a welcome message from Po‘o Kula Dr. Taran Chun KSK’95 and a keynote address from U.S. Rep. Kaiali‘i Kahele.

“As I look at our haumāna, I envision future leaders that, true to many of our kumu and staff, will lead our lāhui to a brighter future for our Native Hawaiian people, and all people of Hawai‘i,” Chun says. “I see confident leaders in front of us today when you see our haumāna. We are trying to educate and equip our haumāna here at KS Kapālama to inspire them to go forward and be the ʻōiwi leaders of tomorrow.”

Participants had the option to engage in huaka‘i at 11 ʻāina-based learning sites from Hale‘iwa to Mokauea, and attend some of the 47 virtual, in-person or hybrid learning and wellness sessions led by 60 presenters from the community and extended KS ‘ohana, including multiple alumni. Through E Ola!, KS educators will ensure that all haumāna are grounded in Hawaiian culture worldviews and ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi; follow a unique, personalized path; respond to the needs of the ʻāina and lāhui; and engage in a rigorous education relevant to modern, global environments and technologies. 

Some of the popular interactive sessions included “E Ho‘omau Ka Mo‘olelo” led by Cy Bridges, a revered Hawaiian music, language, genealogy and cultural practitioner; “Teaching math through Polynesian navigation” with award-winning University of Hawai‘i-West O‘ahu Associate Professor in Mathematics Dr. Kamuela Yong KSK’03; “Kapa making: the future and sustainability of an ancient art” led by Dalani Tanahy; and a three-on-three basketball tournament.

“If there’s one thing paramount to the success of an organization or a team, it’s effective leadership,” Kahele says. “For me, leadership actually begins way before they are put in that position. What makes an effective ‘ōiwi leader begins with a person’s values and how they live their life.”

Kahele explains that a person’s ability to lead can be traced back to their “anchor,” which is forged by one’s connection to culture, ‘ohana, history and values. He recalls his experiences with identifying the importance of leadership while growing up in the traditional Hawaiian fishing village of Miloli‘i on Hawai‘i Island’s southern coast.

“Identify your anchor, and I encourage you to think about that. Your anchor will lead to your values, which will form your leadership style and ʻōiwi leadership qualities,” Kahele says. “Then, you can teach that to your students, your children, or your players. Alaka‘i lead from the front, by example, and are on the frontlines. Don’t ask your team to do anything that you would not do yourself.

“Take care of your people, invest in their personal and professional development, and take an interest in their lives. It’s the little things that make a big, big difference.”

In addition to the KS Kapālama leadership team and its staff who helped to organize and execute the large-scale professional development experience, more than 50 volunteers from kumu to IT staff helped to ensure the sessions ran smoothly in person and for those tuning in virtually.

“What separates ʻōiwi leaders from other successful leaders? I believe there is something else that distinguishes the ʻōiwi, Hawaiian leader – that is aloha, Hawaiians’ greatest gift to the world,” Kahele says. “It is a mindset, a way of life and an attitude that defines who we are and why we are here. In Congress, I always carry the aloha spirit with me. You never know when you will have the opportunity to influence a child’s life.”

View the opening portion of Kula Hawai‘i 2021, here. The program begins at the 16:00 mark. For more photos, see our Photo Galleries section.

In Congress, I always carry the aloha spirit with me. You never know when you will have the opportunity to influence a child’s life.
U.S. Rep. Kaiali‘i Kahele, keynote speaker


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e ola, kona, o'ahu region, ks alumni, ks kapalama

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Oiwi Leaders, Regions, Kona, O'ahu, Themes, Culture, Community, Leadership, Kapalama Newsroom, Kapalama Home, Newsroom, Campus Programs, Kapalama

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