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Kamehameha Schools was founded by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great.

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Kamehameha Schools Welcomes New Po‘o Kumu to Elementary, Middle and High School Kapālama Campus

HONOLULU, HAWAI'I - (February 25, 2019) —The Kamehameha Schools today announced the appointment of three Po'o Kumu to Kapālama Campus for the elementary, middle and high schools. After a thorough, methodical nationwide search and vetting process, Kamehameha Schools welcomes the qualified leaders, who exemplify the skills and passion to fulfill the organization's mission and enhance its status as a world-class campus.

Each new Po'o Kumu joins Kamehameha Schools with extensive experience in the private school sectors, exhibiting exceptional leadership abilities and strong understanding of the importance of student-driven learning and Hawaiian Culture as part of the global mindset.

Kamehameha Schools Kapālama is proud to present the new Poʻo Kumu to the community:

KSK High School Poʻo Kumu - Wendy Erskine: Born and raised on Oʻahu, Wendy Erskine began her teaching career at the University Laboratory School before joining the Teach for America (TFA) program, serving as the Oʻahu regional program director. In this role, Erskine helped establish Hawai'i as a new TFA region in 2006 and managed 34 secondary education teachers across Oʻahu and Hawai'i.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Erskine later returned to serve as a TFA Managing Director of Program in Chicago before returning to the school environment as Assistant Principal then Principal of Chicago Bulls Prep Academy. Serving a population of over 1,000 students, under Poʻo Kumu Erskine's leadership and relationship-oriented academic setting, Chicago Bulls Prep Academy became the top academic performing charter school in Chicago. Erskine is passionate about building relationships with students and staff, and creating educational pathways that are personalized to the needs of each student.

KSK Middle School Poʻo Kumu - Kula Gaughen-Haʻili: Kula Gaughen-Haʻili, a Native Hawaiian homesteader, was born and raised on the west side of Oʻahu. With many recognitions for his achievements in youth education and programs, Gaughen-Haʻili's unique path to academics began with a career in the service industry as a full-time Police Officer. He developed a passion for working with youth, which propelled him to return to school to complete a degree in educational counseling for at-risk youth.

Gaughen-Haʻili discovered his ability to positively influence education by completing the Department of Education Administration Program, after which he began his administration role in the Hawai'i public charter school system. His administrative career brought him to the Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus as Vice Principal of the Elementary School and then as the Interim Poʻo Kumu. Most recently, Poʻo Kumu served as Vice Principal of KS Kapālama Elementary School prior to acting as Interim Middle School Poʻo Kumu, during which he has cultivated a welcoming and engaging environment. As Poʻo Kumu, Gaughen-Haʻili will continue to trailblaze unprecedented levels of student achievement at Kapālama Middle School.

KSK Elementary School Poʻo Kumu - Deede Santiago: Deede Santiago, a Kamehameha Schools '82 alumna, has served as a valuable and passionate leader at KS Kapālama Elementary School for nearly two decades. Graduating cum laude with a BS in elementary education from Whitworth college and holding a masters degree in education from University of Hawai'i, Mānoa, Santiago has provided instruction as a teacher, teacher trainer and evaluator in the Hawai'i educational system for over 28 years.

First entering the Kapālama campus as a mathematics teacher, Santiago successfully stepped into a diverse array of educational and leadership positions that led to her appointment as Interim Elementary School Poʻo Kumu for the 2018-2019 school year. As a respected classroom teacher, a successful teacher coach and the Summer School Principal, Poʻo Kumu Santiago has enhanced best teaching practices and cultivated high levels of learning. Dedicated to Pauahi's mission and striving to "live aloha" in all that she does, Santiago's continued leadership as Po'o Kumu will ensure KS Kapālama Elementary continues to achieve educational excellence.

"The newest leaders of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama are deeply committed to our mission to elevate student achievement and well-being at every level as we continue to develop as a world class institution," said Dr. Taran Chun, Poʻo Kula at Kamehameha Schools. "Moving forward with these leaders will support advancement and continued academic growth for our haumāna and for generations to come, and I know they will be eagerly embraced."

Already employed by Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, Po'o Kumu Gaughen-Haʻili and Po'o Kumu Santiago will assume their respective roles in March of this year. Po'o Kumu Erskine will assume her position as of this summer, prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Kamehameha Schools is dedicated to building a world-class Hawaiian culture-based education that inspires students creatively and academically, engages the 'ohana as part of the educational journey, creates innovative partnerships with the community and instills passion in the kumu campus-wide. As entrusted leaders, the Poʻo Kumu embrace their roles to support and improve Kamehameha Schools Kapālama to create the best educational experience in Hawai'i and beyond.

For more information about the newly appointed Po'o Kumu, click here.