Categorized | Business

OHA names interim CEO, supports charter schools


The Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has approved a $1.5 million grant to fund Hawaiian-focused charter schools across the state.

The funding for the 2011-2012 school year was awarded to the Kanu O Ka Aina Learning Ohana, which secured the OHA grant to help supplement the budgets of 17 Hawaiian-focused public charter schools that are run by independent organizations.

These charter schools make up the Na Lei Naauao Alliance, which enrolls a combined total of about 4,000 students statewide. Of that total enrollment, 91 percent are Hawaiian students.

For the past several years, OHA has been helping supplement the operating costs of these schools.

“Our continued support of the 17 charter schools in the alliance is part of a wider effort to improve public education within the Native Hawaiian community,” said OHA Chairperson Colette Machado. “It’s a necessary step towards helping prepare Native Hawaiians for new opportunities and better jobs.”

In other business, Chief Operating Officer Richard Pezzulo was named interim Chief Executive Officer. The appointment takes effect Dec. 31 until a search for a permanent CEO concludes.

In October, OHA’s Board of Trustees announced the search for a successor to OHA Chief Executive Officer Clyde W. Namuo, who is retiring Dec. 30 after more than 10 years in the top job at OHA.

Since November 2009, Pezzulo has been part of OHA’s executive team, serving as Chief Financial Officer before a promotion in March to Chief Operating Officer.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is a unique, independent state agency established through the Hawaii State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians, with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawaii.

OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation.

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