Hamilton McCubbin

Editor's note: Dr. Hamilton McCubbin resigned May 5 as the first chief executive officer in Kamehameha Schools' 119-year history. McCubbin, who had signed a three-year extension of his contract in February, said he was quitting to spend more time with his family and possibly return to teaching.

This newspaper and other Hawaii media also reported that the Kamehameha Schools officials had been investigating complaints about an inappropriate relationship between McCubbin and a female employee. Neither McCubbin nor estate officials have commented on the investigation.

McCubbin took the reins at Kamehameha Schools after the worst crisis in its history, following the ouster of the former trustees for self-dealing and fiscal mismanagement of the billion-dollar trust.

Imua, Kamehameha

The Kamehameha Schools must
continue to build its capacity to
serve Hawaiian children, work to
strengthen their ethnic identity and
strive to improve the well-being
of all Hawaiian people

As I resign and return to retirement from my role as the first chancellor and chief executive officer of the Kamehameha Schools, I take this opportunity to respond to the community's concerns about the impact of my sudden and early departure.

I also reaffirm the importance of what the Kamehameha Schools has evolved into -- a responsive educational institution that has the Hawaiian people and the Hawaiian community paramount in its plans for the future. In the midst of recent events, we would do well to join hands in unity to restate our commitment to work together as Hawaiians and as an ohana.

The Kamehameha Schools has made a public pronouncement to be open and honest with the Hawaiian people, children and their families. We have promised to nurture the Hawaiian children, families and community through education and, in so doing, we have made a deeper commitment to improving the capabilities and well-being of all Hawaiians as a true reflection of the will of our benefactor, Bernice Pauahi Bishop. We must take the right course of action and never abandon or cast doubt on our promise to the Hawaiian people to be transparent, to be accountable and to take responsibility for our actions.

Kamehameha Schools CEO Hamilton McCubbin, center, takes his place among other Kamehameha supporters as they prepare to enter a City Council meeting where lawmakers discussed proposed changes to a leasehold condominium law. Kamehameha is one of the state's primary owners of leasehold property.

Serving the Hawaiian people through education to improve their capabilities and well-being has been the primary goal of the Kamehameha Schools, particularly during the past three years. The Kamehameha Strategic Plan, Strategic Implementation Plan and its Philosophy of Education affirm Kamehameha's purpose, and with these guiding documents and their underlying values comes a clear commitment to the Hawaiian community. These important docu- ments represent the road map for Kamehameha's future. Our beliefs, values and philosophy are clearly expressed for all to see, feel and believe in. We must step forward and be guided by these visions of hope for the Hawaiian people.

In restating Kamehameha Schools' promise to the Hawaiian people, I turn to the Hawaiian community to look beyond the media coverage plastered in the newspapers during the past few weeks. We need to remain unified and renew our commitment to serve the common good -- all the people of Hawaiian ancestry. Through our joint efforts as summarized below, we have created greater hope for the Hawaiian people and we must continue to do so.

>> We have created learning opportunities for our keiki, and we must continue to do so. Through the Pauahi Keiki Scholar's program we demonstrated our commitment to giving our young children a strong foundation through early childhood education. All Hawaiian children must have access to early education. We must continue to explore ways to improve early childhood educa- tion, but also find ways to reduce the costs of such programs without compromising quality.

>> We have created learning opportunities for young Hawaiian men and women in the Department of Education system, and we must continue to do so. Through Hookakoo, a new private nonprofit entity, Kamehameha Schools has created the opportunity for DOE schools to become conversion charter schools and thus receive more funds from the Kamehameha Schools and other foundations so that more children, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian, can benefit from improvements in the quality of their education. The majority of Hawaiian children are in DOE schools. We must reach them -- more and more of them now.

>> We have created learning opportunities for young Hawaiians throughout the state by creating greater access to quality enrichment education programs. Through the Kameha- meha Scholars program the trust has expanded educational opportunities designed to foster their education and advancement. This program is intended to better prepare Hawaiian children for college and post-graduate competition and testing, build their foundation of technological skills, increase their access to work experiences and deepen their learning about their culture and heritage. Historically, the native Hawaiians feel that the Kamehameha Schools does not see them, that they are invisible to the Kamehameha leaders and that we do not care about them. We must demonstrate that Kamehameha cares and that the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop is for them as well and not just the select few.

>> We have created learning opportunities for life-long education for all Hawaiians. We have expanded our extension education programs with the sensitivity and responsiveness to be "attuned" to the needs of the Hawaiian people. Historically, the Hawaiians have felt that the Kamehameha Schools has not been reliable and predictable and cannot be trusted to be there for them. We are compelled to demonstrate that we are in the community for them and will maintain our commitment to them.

>> We have created learning opportunities at our three campuses, Kapalama, Maui and Hawaii. The Kamehameha Schools has clarified the purpose and scope of each campus, encouraging at the same time to cultivate and develop campuses that serve the community. Each campus addresses the unique needs and opportunities that the island affords and expects of them.

We must recognize that these are the flagship campuses, the pride and joy of the Kamehameha education system and we must nurture and support them as such. They have a unique role in the total education system, and we are compelled to maintain that unique- ness. The community wants these campuses to be special and a source of pride so that all the Hawaiian people can feel deserving of the best. We must do everything to ensure that these campuses and their quality will not be compromised.

>> We have created learning opportunities through partnerships with the DOE, the University of Hawaii, private foundations, and with communities and their leaders in order to serve the common good of communities and the Hawaiian people. We must continue this commitment to partnerships, for extending the reach to native Hawaiians cannot be done by Kamehameha alone. The Hawaiian community must -- absolutely must -- be part of Kamehameha's reach to serve the Hawaiian people.

>> We have created unique learning opportunities and educational interventions some would call "experiments" so that more Hawaiian children can be served with new and innovative and even better programs. The Kamehameha Schools owes it to the Hawaiian people to inform and empower their children and their families with knowledge in order for them to make important decisions about their participation in these programs. We need to ensure that no harm will come to the Hawaiian children and protect them if such harm appears possible. The Hawaiian people trust the Kamehameha Schools to do the right thing, and as a way to ensure the well-being of their children, expect Kamehameha to evaluate and report on these special programs that their children have been exposed to. We must ensure that the children are never harmed.

This is an important responsibility that the Kamehameha Schools carries forth, which must be recognized and integrated in all that Kamehameha does. As Hawaiian families renew their trust in Kamehameha Schools, the schools must in turn demonstrate that we have earned their trust.

>> We have created learning opportunities and included appropriate evaluation research through PASE, the Policy Analysis and Systems Evaluation Division. In so doing, we commit ourselves to the conduct of evaluations in order that our education programs may sustain the commitment to continuous improvement. We assure the parents and children that we care enough to want to improve on the educational services we provide them.

Through PASE, which combines evaluation with continuous studies on the needs and well-being of the Hawaiian people, the Kamehameha Schools will add new information, new knowledge and thus new hope for the Hawaiian people.

>> We have expanded our learning opportunities to life beyond high school and into higher education and the workplace. We believe that children and young adults should be educated to make informed choices about their futures. The Kamehameha Schools has and will continue to affirm its commitment to post-higher education learning opportunities inclusive of scholarships for the Hawaiian children. The Kamehameha Schools also is committed to fostering a sense of responsibility that its graduates come to appreciate the responsibility to give back to the Hawaiian people of tomorrow.

>> We have created a new CEO management system, which was accompanied by changes in policies, procedures and accountability. We have made substantial progress but we have a ways to go. It is vital that we continue to improve upon our efforts to separate the policy-making powers of the trustees from the CEO's management of the trust. Micromanagement, the staff reported last year, continues to find its way into the management process and thus deserves additional review and assessment for it to improve. The current internal audit of the system will reveal the importance of continual efforts to improve on the CEO management system. It is essential that we continue to make progress.

>> We have created the Pauahi Leadership Institute, an organization designed to foster the development of leadership in Kamehameha and to promote the development of culturally sensitive and competent leaders in the community. This is a vital step forward in building Kamehameha's future and the development of leaders of Hawaiian ancestry.

>> We have deepened our commitment to adding new financial resources to extend the reach of the Kamehameha Schools. The Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation was established to provide opportunities for the beneficiaries and caring people to give of themselves and their financial resources to improve and expand education programs for Hawaiians. We must do everything we can to improve upon our education programs for the Hawaiian people.

I transition from the leadership of the Kamehameha Schools with a heavy heart knowing that misinformation has found its way into the media to cast doubt upon my leadership and, more important, about the people who have served me and with me. I will remember the threats on my life, threats of harm to my wife and children, and the continuous need for security at my home to protect us. On this matter, I leave the Hawaiian people with but one message, for I can say little to nothing about such personnel matters: As time progresses and truths are revealed, it will become apparent that ill will, rather than the truth, continues to be a dysfunctional part of the Kamehameha Schools. These acts, which appear to be of malicious intent, have no place in an institution devoted to the well-being of others.

We must do what we can to reveal such behaviors and expose those persons whose intentions are less than honor- able. They bring dishonor to a trust built on the premise of integrity, honesty and openness.

More important, I leave the Kamehameha Schools with a renewed sense of hope that the steps taken in the past three years are forward-looking, affirming of all the Hawaiian people and not just the select few, and will be continued into the future. I have the greatest confidence in the Kamehameha Schools ohana to carry on, to better serve the Hawaiian people and to ensure that the quality of our programs is maintained.

Bernice Pauahi Bishop would be pleased to note that the Kamehameha Schools has committed itself to the capability and well-being of all the Hawaiian people and children, past, present and particularly the future. The object of Princess Pauahi's largesse must continue to be to prefer Hawaiian children for educational benefits only her bounty has made available. In this way, the ohana honors her will and the Hawaiian people grow in educational stature. This is pono. Any other result is not.

Mahalo to the Hawaiian people and to the staff of the Kamehameha Schools for their dedication and commitment to the well-being and capabilities of all Hawaiians. Together, we have made considerable progress by laying a new foundation for the future of Kamehameha Schools. Together, we stepped forward in a bold way to say that Bernice Pauahi Bishop intended in her will that all her people be served through education. I firmly believe that in the past few years, we have moved the Kamehameha Schools closer to the fulfillment of Pauahi's dream for her people.

My ohana -- my wife, Marilyn, a professor in nursing at the University of Hawaii; my children, Todd, an Air Force pilot serving in the Middle East conflict; Wendy, a teacher in Minneapolis; Laurie, graduating with her doctoral degree today, and our grandchildren -- and I are pleased to have had the opportunity to serve Pauahi in this small way and at this important time in the history of the Kamehameha Schools.

As I transition back into retirement and even entertain the prospects and other opportunities in education elsewhere, I will look upon the Kamehameha Schools with pride and confidence that the steps we have taken together will continue to bring hope for a better future for the Hawaiian people.


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