has new CEO
The schools' new hire wins
praise for her leadership and
her background in health
Kamehameha Schools' new chief executive officer was hired for her leadership and healing qualities as well as her understanding of the $6 billion dollar trust's mission, trustees said yesterday.
Dee Jay Mailer is a 1970 Kamehameha graduate and former CEO of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii who started her career as a nurse at Kapiolani and Kaiser Medical Centers. Her two daughters also graduated from Kamehameha.
Dee Jay Mailer
>> Career: Current chief operating officer, The Global Fund, a public-private multibillion-dollar health trust; former chief administrative officer for Health Net, a California health plan; former CEO, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii; nurse at Kapiolani and Kaiser medical centers.
>> Education: 1970 Kamehameha Schools graduate; nursing degree from UH-Manoa in 1975; master of business administration in 1985.
>> Family: 2 daughters
"We have been through some difficult times," trustee J. Douglas Ing said. "We see Dee Jay as bringing stability to our organization."
Ing said he hopes Mailer's hiring will bring "closure to years of controversy and crisis."
Just last week the school settled a lawsuit and allowed a non-Hawaiian seventh-grader to continue to attend Kamehameha. Another lawsuit challenging the schools native Hawaiian preference admissions policy is likely to be appealed to the 9th Circuit.
In May, former CEO Hamilton McCubbin resigned after the school conducted two investigations into allegations that McCubbin had an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer. McCubbin has denied the allegations.
McCubbin's appointment in January 2000 as the school's first CEO was hailed as a major milestone in the controversy surrounding the removal of former Bishop Estate trustees Henry Peters, Richard "Dickie" Wong, Lokelani Lindsey, Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis.
Mailer was not at the press conference yesterday. She is finishing work at her current job as chief operating officer of The Global Fund, a public-private multibillion-dollar trust based in Geneva, Switzerland, that raises and distributes money to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
She starts at Kamehameha Schools on Jan. 19.
The Kamehameha Schools is the state's largest private landowner and one of the nation's wealthiest charities. The will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop created the nonprofit trust in 1884. Kamehameha and its programs spent more than $222 million last year to provide educational services to about 16,000 children, mostly of native Hawaiian ancestry.
In a written statement, Mailer cited a desire to give back to Hawaii as a reason for taking the CEO position.
"It's been a dream for me to find a fitting way to return home to my Kamehameha family," Mailer said.
"Pauahi was loving and wise," she said. "And we must now protect her gift and focus on educating Hawaiian children. And once Hawaiian children receive this gift, they must -- and will -- repay it by helping others.
"So, as keiki o ka aina, I am excited to have found my way back to repay the gift given to me."
Ing said Mailer is committed to the Kamehameha's strategic plan to provide more outreach and education to native Hawaiian children.
Trustee Nainoa Thompson said Mailer understands the mission of the schools to provide for Hawaiians living in poverty, "to meet the needs of those that we serve the least."
Mailer received her nursing degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1975 and went back to UH to get a master of business administration in 1985. She worked in hospital management at Kaiser Hawaii from 1986 through 1999 and was named CEO in 1995.
She left to become chief administrative officer for Health Net, a California network model health plan serving 2.3 million members.
Ing said Mailer's health background may help with pre-natal education initiatives that have been discussed by the trustees. He said she also may be able to get hospitals involved in giving Kamehameha's students opportunities in health care.
Mailer's salary is not being released. Trustee Chairwoman Constance Lau said Mailer does not have an employment contract. McCubbin earned more than $350,000 a year.
Colleen Wong, who had been acting CEO, will return to her position as Kamehameha's vice-president for legal affairs.
Lau said Mailer emerged as the top candidate after 11 hours of interviews with the trustees.
"Dee Jay is a leader who can lift people up to perform at a level they never realized themselves," said trustee Robert Kihune. "She was a person that could lead the charge and not be the person standing behind with a stick, moving people by beating them up to get them to move forward."
The selection process took seven months and began with nominations from Kamehameha alumni, parents, teachers and community members. Mailer was nominated by both the search firm and alumni, Lau said.