Dr. Cathy Kanoelani Ikeda, a UH West Oʻahu Assistant Professor of Middle/Secondary Education, will begin serving a three-year term on the state Public Charter School Commission starting in July.
Ikeda was appointed by the state Board of Education on May 17 to one of three seats opening up on the nine-member commission. Among candidate criteria were a demonstration of a commitment to education, record of integrity, civic virtue and high ethical standards; availability for constructive engagement and knowledge of best practices.
The charter school commission meets to consider applications by non-profit groups wanting to operate public schools that operate as so-called charter schools, or schools that operate under a charter or contract with the state and receive funding to operate, often with non-traditional and innovative learning methods. The commission also monitors the performance and legal compliance of the state’s more than 35 charter schools.
Ikeda, in a letter to the Board of Education, noted she wanted to offer her time and services as a former teacher and now a teacher of teachers. She explained that in her 26 years in education, she had observed that successful schools are built “on the backs and shoulders of strong teachers who carry their kuleana and live the mission of vision of their schools.” She wrote that administrators are an important component of schools, but that truly innovative and game-changing work in schools is done by teachers, and that her work continues to be in nurturing those teachers.
Among those testimony in support of Ikeda were the Native Hawaiian Education Council, the administration of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Steve Hirakami, school director for the Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts & Science Public Charter School, and Susie Osborne, Kua O Ka La NCPCS head of school.
“Dr. Ikeda’s knowledge of Hawaiian culture-based education programming, curriculum, instruction, and assessment will assist the Commission in understanding and helping to advance the distinct goals, best practices, and needs of the Hawaiian culture-focused and Hawaiian language immersion schools that comprise nearly half of the Commission’s charter school portfolio,” wrote Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, OHA chief executive officer, in his testimony.
Crabbe also expressed that Ikeda’s history as a teacher professional development facilitator and her current service nurturing future teacher candidates at UH West Oʻahu would contribute to the Commission’s understanding of the need for teacher support and retention in the charter school system.
Also appointed at the meeting were Dr. Harald Barkhoff, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Professor and Chair of the universityʻs Kinesiology and Exercise Science program, and Shannon Cleary, the director of advancement for Le Jardin Academy.