Punahou admissions
chief to retire

The private school expanded its
financial aid during his tenure

Curtis Hagen, who has helped determine the future of thousands of Hawaii's children as admissions director at Punahou School, will retire this summer after 31 years on campus.

Punahou President Jim Scott credited Hagen with attracting a broader range of students to the school by expanding its financial aid budget, which has doubled over the past decade. This year, 415 students receive financial aid out of a total enrollment of 3,750 in kindergarten through 12th grade.

"We've been able to meet the demonstrated financial aid needs for every child who's gotten into Punahou over the last three years, and Curt has to take a lot of credit for that," Scott said yesterday. "Not only would that be his legacy, but he actually helped to initiate that strategy."

Hagen has been director of admissions and financial aid at Punahou for six years and served as associate director for the previous eight. He joined Punahou's faculty in 1973, and taught English and U.S. history to sixth-graders for 17 years before moving into administration.

Hagen, as admission director, has to handle the delicate task of informing parents whose children do not make the cut, something Scott called "an art form."

"Giving people disappointing news but also trying to be encouraging for their future options is a real talent that he has," Scott said. "We grow the school in fourth, seventh and ninth grades, and he's done a nice job working with parents."

Applications for one of the coveted spots in Punahou's kindergarten classes are up this year, with 565 students vying for 150 slots opening in the fall. Overall, the school has more than 2,200 applicants for 500 spots schoolwide.

"We have a strong pool of applicants this year," Hagen said. "At the kindergarten level we have more than we've seen in a long time, more than I've ever seen."

Hagen, who will turn 61 before retiring, said the timing is right because his wife, Rae, is also retiring.

"The time fit together for my wife and myself," he said. "We're very lucky that things coordinated well."

Candidates interested in the position should submit applications to Punahou by Feb. 13.


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