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Kamehameha Schools Kapālama welcomes new high school poʿo kumu

Sheena Alaiasa

Kamehameha Schools Kapālama (KSK) announced today that Sheena Alaiasa has been named its high school poʿo kumu (principal).

“We are very excited to welcome Ms. Alaiasa to our Kapālama team,” said KSK Poʿo Kula, Earl T. Kim.  “She brings valuable knowledge and insights to KS from her groundbreaking and innovative work at Castle High School and in the Castle Complex Area and we expect that she will continue the advancements the high school began in 2006.”

Alaiasa’s career as a teacher spans Pre-Kindergarten through high school. She credits her time in the classroom and in administration with preparing her for this role and continuing to prepare KSK high school’s `ōpio for their lifelong journey of learning.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to have this opportunity bestowed upon me,” Alaiasa said. “I believe in the legacy that Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop set for her people. I believe that our young people need to be prepared for their journey ahead, to know and understand one’s culture and to find balance between expectations and challenges to be prepared to excel in the world they live in.”

Alaiasa, former Hawaiʿi and National Association of Secondary School Principals,’ “Principal of the Year” and current principal at Castle High School, spent the last two years implementing a redesign of the high school program which resulted in an increase in student success rates and decreased adverse student behavior – accomplishments she credits to her strong connection and work with community.

“I firmly believe that in addition to academics, our students will need to have a deeper understanding of working with community and global and local leaders to make a positive change throughout society,” added Alaiasa. “We are preparing our youth to be leaders of tomorrow and it is our responsibility as educators to advocate and allow them to take those brave steps.”

Alaiasa’s Castle Complex Area work has also contributed to significant progress and gains at King Intermediate where she was principal for five years and Heʿeia Elementary where she served as vice principal from 2004-2008.

“Her experience leading meaningful change in our public schools will be crucial as the high school moves into the next phase of implementing critical elements of its ongoing work to promote postsecondary success, strengthen identity development and nurture leaders who will serve their communities locally and globally,” Kim said.

Nearly 100 KS stakeholders, including students, parents, alumni, staff, instructional leaders and KSK partners helped to identify key attributes for the next leader of KSK’s high school.

“We had an excellent pool of candidates from which to choose,” added Kim. “Ms. Alaiasa’s distinguished experience as an educator; deep understanding of the role of culture in education and child-centered philosophy made her the right person to lead our high school.”

Alaiasa is a graduate of Brigham Young University - Hawaiʿi where she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and the University of Hawaiʿi at Mānoa where she achieved a master’s in education administration.

Alaiasa’s official start date is June 1, 2015.