Lindsey removed as education 'lead trustee'

The Bishop board removes her
as lead trustee for Kamehameha Schools

Alumni show support for teachers, students.

By Rick Daysog

Embattled Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey has been removed as head of the estate's education group.

Saying it's time to set aside the "name-calling, charges and countercharges," Lindsey said she would abide by the estate's five-member board's decision yesterday to discontinue its controversial practice of having a lead trustee for educational programs.

Trustees also affirmed Kamehameha Schools President Michael Chun's authority to run the Kapalama Heights campus and clarified Chun's role in developing an operational plan for educational programs. They also restored "talk story" sessions with schools' alumni, faculty and students.

"It is obvious that I have become a 'lightning rod' for criticism in the way I have represented the trustees' interests at their request to oversee the performance of the Kamehameha Schools," Lindsey said.

"My goal always has been to identify ways to improve the education of our children, and in doing so, it is apparent that my forthright style has offended people as I identified areas that I believed required attention."

The vote reaffirms a decision by the board in August to eliminate the lead trustee position for education, Lindsey said. The August decision was not made public until yesterday.

A spokesman for Lindsey said he wasn't sure what her new board duties would be. Lindsey said that she plans to work toward the improvement of the schools and to fulfill her fiduciary duties.

The estate had no immediate comment on the removal.

'It's too little and too late'

The trust also declined response on the fate of Kamehameha Schools' President Michael Chun, who met with trustees yesterday morning to address concerns raised by Lindsey over his management of the Kapalama Heights campus.

Lindsey's removal as lead trustee for education caps months of criticism of her management style by students, faculty, alumni and community leaders.

Many believe that Lindsey's removal from the campus doesn't go far enough.

One group representing more than 200 Kamehameha Schools faculty members, Na Kumu o Kamehameha, on Monday urged Attorney General Margery Bronster to seek the immediate removal of Lindsey and the remaining trustees and place the estate into receivership.

Lindsey, in particular, misrepresented the quality of education at Kamehameha Schools and hurt student morale when she said programs were deficient and test scores had declined, teachers said.

"The trouble with this is it's too little and too late," said Senior U.S. District Judge Sam King, who in August co-authored the "Broken Trust" article, which prompted Bronster to open an investigation into allegations of trustees' mismanagement.

"There's too many questions."

Lindsey, meanwhile, said that she has been the target of unfair criticisms. But she said she can't continue to respond to the charges -- or fight back -- without keeping the criticism of her management of the schools alive.

Trustees' suspension urged

King, former Punahou School President Roderick McPhee and three of the authors of the "Broken Trust" article -- retired state Judge Walter Heen, the Rev. Charles Kekumano and former Kamehameha Schools for Girls Principal Gladys Brandt -- met with the Star-Bulletin yesterday to voice their support of Kamehameha Schools teachers.

They called for the immediate suspension of all five Bishop Estate trustees, saying their infighting was hurting the school.

They urged the estate hold off on the accreditation of the schools until the ongoing controversy dies down and recommended that the schools put the recently adopted strategic plan on hold.

The strategic plan, which charts the direction of Kamehameha Schools through the year 2005, has been criticized for lacking feedback from faculty members.

Some observers believe that Lindsey's removal as lead trustee for education may signal further management changes at the estate.

The estate recently placed its lead trustee management system -- which gives individual trustees the authority over various administrative duties -- under review after court-appointed master Colbert Matsumoto said the division of labor may violate the will of the estate's founder, Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

Under the system, trustee Henry Peters is in charge of investments, board Chairman Richard Wong heads government affairs, Jervis watches legal affairs and Lindsey managed education. Trustee Oswald Stender heads the estate's Kukui Inc. subsidiary.

Safeguards questionable

According to Matsumoto, this system at best represents a sweeping delegation of authority without appropriate safeguards.

"Allowing a single trustee to handle a single operation allows that trustee to do so without informing the other trustees what's going on," Bronster said.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Kamehameha Schools junior Cameron Tuitele was
one of a handful of people who gathered yesterday to
support the teachers and students after school let out.

Alumni thank schools’
faculty and students

'They deserve our mahalo' for maintaining
the schools' 'tradition and excellence'

By Debra Barayuga

A small group of Kamehameha alumni has turned out to say mahalo to teachers and students who have remained steadfast throughout the controversy surrounding Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.

"We want to show appreciation for Kamehameha teachers and students who have endured the turmoil and still maintain the tradition and excellence of the school," said Fred Cachola, class of 1953. "They deserve our mahalo."

Cachola and a handful of Kamehameha supporters wearing shirts that said, "We Care -- Ku'e Pono," lined the sidewalk just outside the Kamehameha Schools gatehouse as school let out yesterday, waving to bus-loads of students, teachers, staff and parents as they passed.

They held signs that read, "Imua Na Kumu o Kamehameha" and "Your Statement Is Pono -- We Support You 100%," in reference to a letter written by Na Kumu o Kamehameha to the attorney general asking for the removal of Bishop Estate trustees and placement of the estate under receivership.

The signs also recognized four faculty members who are under a gag order and have been reprimanded for speaking against trustees and the faculty's declining morale.

Passing motorists slowed to read the signs and honk and wave in support of the group's message. Some teachers stopped their cars and got out to shake hands with the alumni in appreciation for the group's efforts.

"I love this school," Cachola said, waving to each passing car. "It really saddens me to see what some of our trustees have done to really destroy the image, intent, reputation and richness of our school."

Recent statements made by trustee Lokelani Lindsey criticizing student achievement and curriculum attack the very core -- the heart and soul and spirit -- of the school, he said. "If you attack the curriculum, you also attack the teachers who reinforce and deliver and test it."

Attorney General Margery Bronster needs to take the statements of the 210 faculty members seriously and act -- the sooner the better, Cachola said. "We want to see healing begin, but it's difficult when the ones who created the wounds are still rubbing salt."

"Support the children," student Cameron Tuitele yelled out the window as he passed by on his way to paddling practice. He returned minutes later to join the sign wavers.

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