VerlieAnn Malina-Wright Ed.D Chairperson, Board of Directors
Former Chair, Native Hawaiian Education Council for the US Department of Education; Educational Officer, Hawai’i Department of Education, retired; Former Chair, Native Indian Education Association; Director of Continuing Education, Kamehameha Schools, retired.
Michael W. Beasley, Esq. Secretary, Board of Directors
Legal Counsel, Corporate law practice; Brigadier General, US Army, (Retired). Alvin H. Pauole Board of Directors
Project Manager, The Hana Group, Missile Defense Project; Nuclear Engineer, Rocky Flats; Nuclear Munitions Plant, CO; Captain, nuclear submarines, U.S. Navy (Retired) Ethan Scott Kaleoikaika Katsumi Cooper, J.D. Board of Directors
President, Haka Inc., Washington D.C., Service Disabled Veteran; Owned Small Business; J.D., Columbus School Of Law. Andrew Keli’ikuniaupuni Poepoe Board of Directors
Director, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Hawai’i District office for 17 yrs. Manager of Commercial Operations, Dole Foods Company; Elected to Hawai’i State Legislature, Honolulu City Council, chair, committees on Zoning and on Energy from 1966-1982. MBA from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa; BS Engineering and Business, Yale University.
Herb Lee, Jr.Executive Director
Rooted in the Koolaupoko area of the Island of O’ahu, Herb is committed to improving the lives of children, youth and families, and promotes the overall vision, direction and operation of the organization. Herb models and empowers others with Aloha, a sense of place, learning as a lifelong journey, and the foundational values, hard work, creativity, innovation. He has earned degrees in Psychology, Political Science, and a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Rosalyn Dias ConcepcionAlaka'i Loko I'a (Fishpond) Manager
Roz oversees operations and management of Waikalua Loko I`a with the focus being on revitalization through restoration, education and youth projects that preserve our rich traditions and Hawai’ian culture. Roz incorporates historical perspective into all her work, making it current and relevant to persevering into the future. She is passionate about working with students and community groups who visit on field trips and community volunteer days, and a mentor to those seeking cultural or work-study experience. Her BS from Chaminade University of Honolulu is in Criminal Justice and Psychology.
Mel DateCareer Development Manager
Mel manages and facilitates instruction for multiple career planning programs including the Kuder Career Planning Program, Ka La Hiki Ola (a culture-base career program), and Coaching Young People for Success. He is certified as a Career Development Facilitator by the National Career Development Association, and certified as a trainer by Coaching Young People for Success. Mel challenges college and high school to discover their future and Career Pathway.
Derek EsibillProgram Director, WIRED
Derek brings his love of teaching, scientific investigation and all things outdoors to the WIRED program. An acroynm for Watershed Investigations, Research Education, and Design, WIRED is Derek’s passion, allowing him to incorporate his extensive experience with oceanographic research and sail training vessels and background as a science teacher for the Hawaiʻi Department of Education to engage students in meaningful research projects investigating coral reef health, water quality, and ahupuaʻa ecology in a Hawaiian cultural context. Derek is also PAF’s technology coordinator and network administrator.
A Dedication to Maura E. O’Connor
A Lifetime of Work Devoted to ‘Ohana, Students, Teachers, and Environmental Education
The Pacific American Foundation recognizes Maura O’Connor for her leadership, aloha, and special contributions as the curriculum team leader and teacher trainer during a 15-year tenure with PAF. She was an enthusiastic supporter and coach for teachers. She provided encouragement to adopt cultural place-based curriculums strategies with boundless energy and deep Aloha for people and students. Her lessons have inspired thousands of teachers, students and their families throughout Hawai‘i by integrating core subjects including math, science, social studies and language arts through a cultural lens and aligned to state and national standards. Please read on, and learn more about her work.
Sheri FitzgeraldCurriculum Specialist, Professional Development Teacher/Mentor
Sheri is currently serving as the project director for the Castle K-16 Engineering Pipeline Project, working with elementary, intermediate, and high school teachers and administrations to support high quality engineering experiences in the Windward district of O’ahu. She has a B.S. degree is in Biology and a M.Ed. degree specializing in Science Education. Sheri is a Ph.D. candidate in Education at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
Bob KahihikoloCareer Facilitator
Bob serves as a career education instructor in PAF’s career education related programs. He is a certified Career Development Facilitator with the National Career Development Association. Bob has been a part of cultural youth mentoring programs over many years with PAF.
Doug manages various PAF programs including teacher training in boosting parent involvement, underwater robotics, curriculum development, and career preparation in natural resources, as well as fund development and grants. He is a proponent and advocate for workforce internships in the technology sector, graphic arts, and documentary photography, Doug. His BA in Urban Studies is from Antioch College, San Francisco.
Ka‘ohua LucasCurriculum Writer
Ka‘ohua‘aionaali‘i Lucas is a curriculum developer, teacher trainer, counselor, writer, video producer, and cultural practitioner for the Pacific American Foundation, the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society, Kamehameha Schools, Na Pua No`eau Native Hawaiian Science Program at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, the Teleschool, Hawaii Department of Education, Windward Community College, and Moanalua Gardens Foundation. Her Masters Degree in Educational Curriculum & Instruction was earned at University of Hawai‘i.
Louis PerezChief Financial Officer
Louis administers all aspects of financial analysis, compliance, accounting, reporting, and administration of grants, with oversight of consolidated and project budgets. Independently, Louis also serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the AKAMAI Foundation and AKAMAI Capital. He earned an Executive Master of Business Administration from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Helen Tupa‘i, Ph.D.Program Manager
Dr. Helen Tupa’i is the Program Manager for PAF’s newest youth leadership mentoring program to develop youth leadership, cultural resiliency, civic engagement, and workforce readiness. She is also a certified Career Development Facilitator with the National Career Development Association. Helen is a fellow of the National Pacific American Leadership Institute and received her Ph.D. and Masters in Higher Education Administration from Washington State University, and a Bachelors in Business from Bethany University. She is passionate about providing right environments and relationships to raise-up the next generation of leaders.
Manning Taite, IIIExecutive Director, NALU Studies, a fiscally sponsored program of PAF.
Through NALU Studies, Manning inspires, educates and empowers youth to become future environmental leaders. NALU Studies supports the Pacific Center for Environmental Studies (PaCES) program and Pacific American Foundation’s WIRED program. Manning has taught science, English, and math at Kamehameha School, Punahou School, Maryknoll High School, and the Myron B. Thompson Academy. He has been Education Specialist at Windward Community College/Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, and has worked in biotechnology research at Large Scale Biology Corp. He has a BS in Environmental Horticulture and Design from University of California at Davis.
Kapono CiottiDirector, Hawai'i Institute of Knowledge and Innovation
Kapono is currently a doctoral candidate in International and Indigenous Education. He is the Head of School at Waialae School, in Honolulu, and trains teachers internationally around curriculum, learning, and the assessment of learning. Through the Hawaii Institute of Knowledge and Innovation (HIKI), Kapono supports excellent education in Hawaii and beyond.
Elizabeth CodyTeacher / Coach
Elizabeth works with students and teachers in the bio-assessment activities of the Kulia watershed expeditions. She is passionate about connecting youth to their ‘aina, which develops love, respect, and a responsibility to protect Earth’s natural environment. Elizabeth earned a BS in Environmental Management at Indiana University, Bloomington, and an MS in Botany with a specialization in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the University of Hawaii, Mānoa.