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Thursday, February 8, 2001

spotlights clear
education goals

'The organization now must
measure itself against standards,'
the CEO says at the end
of his first year

By Mary Adamski

Faculty and staff at Kamehameha Schools are being told to expect an emphasis on accountability and open communication in the future.

Chief Executive Officer Hamilton McCubbin said yesterday that the modern vision for the educational institution for native Hawaiians must mesh with the $6 billion charitable trust that endows it: "We spent a lot; now tell me what did we expect to accomplish?

"The organization now must measure itself against standards," he said. "We are no longer able to function as a free-wheeling institution."

McCubbin marked the end of his first year as executive with a "state of the estate" speech to about 100 people at the Kalihi campus. After three years of turmoil that led to court-directed change in the estate trustees and the way they are chosen and paid, and a year focused on reorganizing the operational and investment side, the estate now turns to educational goals.

He told the campus audience that the estate is going to get specific in educational objectives just as it is in financial goals. "It will be clearly articulated so we can measure the link between $200 million (spent) and the outcome we expect."

He said he expects finalists to be found by late this month in the national search for a newly created position of chief education officer to oversee three school campuses as well as outreach programs.

McCubbin said the finalists will be introduced in public forum to allow questions from Kamehameha employees, alumni and parents, in keeping with the new goal of openness.

"We found that the organizational communication at Kamehameha leaves a lot to be desired," he said. "Information doesn't come up and information doesn't go all the way down. We have to find a mechanism; we must open communication.

"We must rid ourselves of these elements of security," he said, in an apparent reference to gag orders imposed on employees in the past.

The reference was one of a few muted mentions of the tumultuous recent past of the institution formerly called Bishop Estate.

A search is also on for headmasters for the Maui campus, which opened last year, and the Big Island campus, which will open in August. He said they will be equal to Kalihi campus president Michael Chun as Kamehameha becomes "a system" instead of one school with satellites.

Also being sought are a director of off-campus extension programs for Hawaiians and a leader of the "eco-cultural" program. "We will call for accountability by leadership. We want a system of checks and balances."

McCubbin explained the idea of "eco-culturalism" as "bridging endowment and education. We will look to our legacy lands and figure how those entities can be used for education. This will become a major entity of the Kamehameha of the future."

Draft ideas include a Heeia Fishpond restoration project coupled with a management class at the University of Hawaii Center for Hawaiian Studies, and a Kauai Ecocultural Educational Center at Waipa and Lumahai in partnership with the trust lessee Hawaiian Farmers of Hanalei.

"We need your help with reorganization," he told the campus audience. "Not only are we changing in the way we are structured, but we are changing in the way we function."

Bishop Estate Archive
Kamehameha Schools

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