Governing School Board

Governing School Board

Wai’alae is governed by a Governing School Board (GSB) charged with the responsibility of oversight for financial, organizational, and academic viability of our school and implementation of the Wai‘alae School Charter Contract.  As a charter school, the GSB has the independent authority to determine the organization and management of the school, the curriculum, virtual education, and compliance with applicable federal and state laws.  In many ways, the GSB sets the “what” (vision-aligned goals, direction, strategy, and policy), while the CEO and school leadership team determines and executes the “how” (operations, financial transactions, academic specifics pertaining to curriculum and pedagogy).  The GSB also ensures that our school complies with the terms of the Wai‘alae School Charter Contract from the Hawai’i State Public Charter School Commission. As a governing body, the GSB conducts matters according to the GSB Bylaws and sets yearly goals which align with and support the school’s endeavors.

Meetings

The Governing School Board meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month except June and December (unless otherwise noted). The meetings are held in person with a virtual option from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Meetings are open to the public, and an agenda with meeting link is posted on this page about a week prior to the meeting date. The minutes of each meeting are also posted, but only after they have been approved and accepted by the GSB. The Board also hosts an annual summer retreat for Wai’alae School leadership and Community Circle organizations (Governing School Board, Wai’alae School Foundation, and Friends of Wai’alae) to energize, connect and align strategic planning efforts in support of the school.

Meeting Agendas and Minutes (see below)

Waiʻalae Governing School Board Requests Public Comment on Community Accord

The Waiʻalae GSB values stakeholder feedback and requests public comment on a draft of a recently developed Community Accord. This document serves to establish expectations and norms for our Governing Board, including topics such as onboarding to the GSB, conflict resolution, and more. This is an evolving document that will be revisited each year by the GSB, however, we are anticipating codifying this first edition formally during the January 2024 GSB meeting (1/23/24). If you wish to provide comment on the draft, please send an email to board@waialae.edu or attend either the November 2023 GSB meeting (11/28/23) or the aforementioned January 2024 meeting to provide public comment. We look forward to your feedback and working in partnership together!

Draft of the Community Accord

July 2023

GSB Retreat – No Meeting

August 22, 2023

September 26, 2023

October 17, 2023

November 28, 2023

December 2023 - No Meeting

January 22, 2024

February 21, 2024

March 26, 2024

April 23, 2024

May 28, 2024

June 25, 2024

July 2024 (Board Retreat)

rescheduled

JOINING THE GOVERNING SCHOOL BOARD

As a steering, strategic, and policy-making body, the Governing School Board ideally has a makeup that pulls from expertise in a variety of areas, including law, finance, business, human resources, community leadership and resources, academia, progressive and whole-child education, and more. GSB members serve two-year terms and volunteer between 4 and 10 hours per month, sharing their professional expertise by advising school leadership, long-term strategic planning, working in committees, and seeking community resources and opportunities for the school. GSB members must be reflective, life-long learners, and exemplars of Wai‘alae’s Vision Elements:

The Governing School Board (GSB) invites interested persons to apply to serve on a GSB Committee as non-GSB members (Education, Operations or Governance Committee). After a designated amount of time, committee members may be asked to join the GSB or they may remain on a committee.

We are currently seeking community member(s) with the following skillsets

Application Process

  1. Meet informally with the GSB Chair and/or the Chair of the GSB Committee of interest to learn about Committee roles, responsibilities, requirements, and overarching goals, as well as how they relate to the roles, responsibilities, requirements, and overarching goals of the GSB itself.
  2. Complete a Committee Member Application Form and submit it to the GSB.
  3. If you are invited to join a Committee, then it is expected that you attend Committee meetings and contribute to the Committee’s work as a non-GSB member of the Committee.

Board Members

Wai’alae’s Governing School Board is a passionate and connected group of community members working in alignment, sharing their unique strengths and diverse perspectives to support Wai’alae School in its mission to nurture and educate the whole child.  The Governing School Board recognizes the charter school movement’s role in innovating and improving the larger public school system in Hawaii.  Board members generously donate their passion, energy, resources, and expertise to govern and advise Wai’alae School.
Troy Ballard

Troy Ballard

Governing Board Chair

Troy Ballard is a lifelong public educator, a champion of educational equity and excellence, and an attorney. A former public school teacher and higher education coordinator, Troy has extensive experience in culturally responsive teaching practices and strongly supports an educational framework that provides a whole-child education. Troy resonates closely with the mission and vision of Wai’alae School and views his role on the board as working to ensure these concepts and values are embodied within our community decision making processes. Troy attended the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa graduating with undergraduate degrees in both American Studies and Political Science. Afterwards, he attended the University of Pennsylvania graduating with a Master’s of Science in Urban Education. He additionally attended the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law, graduating with a Certificate in Native Hawaiian Law and a research focus on educational equity and school desegregation. Troy currently serves as Post J.D. Fellow with Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law.

Email: board@waialae.edu

Kristen Brummel

Kristen Brummel

Education Committee

Kristen Brummel has 20 years of education experience in Hawai’i’s Department of Education as an Elementary Teacher, Mentor, Instructional Coach, Presenter, Complex Area Induction and Mentoring Program Coordinator, and Education Specialist in Teacher Leadership. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, a 2014-2016 Hawaii Hope Street Group Fellow and was the 2011 Hawaii State Teacher of the Year. Kristen has served on committees such as Hawaii’s Teacher Leader Workgroup, the Great Teachers Great Leaders Task Force, the Teacher Education Committee for Elementary and Early Childhood, and the University of Hawaii College of Education Alumni Association Board of Directors with the goals of learning from others and bringing teacher voice to the conversation. Kristen loves growing with her two children, Daniel (11) and Grace (8), and is excited and honored to serve the Wai’alae school community, whose mission and vision she wholeheartedly believes in.

Email: board@waialae.edu

Leon Geschwind

Leon Geschwind

Governing Board Vice-Chair

Leon Geschwind is the father of two young daughters and a proud Wai’alae parent. He is the NOAA Education and Outreach Specialist at the Inouye Regional Center. He is a believer in Wai’alae’s whole-child approach and is passionate about engaging communities around climate change science and solutions. Prior to NOAA, Leon taught middle and high school Earth, Physical, and Environmental Science, served as adjunct faculty at Hawaii Pacific University, and led the Bishop Museum science education department. He has a Bachelors in Global Environmental Science, a Masters in Educational Technology, and is pursuing a PhD in Learning Design and Technology from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Email: board@waialae.edu

Scott Nishimoto

Scott Nishimoto

Education Committee Chair

Scott Nishimoto is the Executive Director of Ceeds of Peace, a Hawaiʻi-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise peacebuilding leaders. Ceeds of Peace brings together educators, parents, service providers, and youth to learn about peacebuilding and launch action plans to build peace within, with others, and in service to their communities. Scott leads the organization's efforts to grow its reach and deepen its impact to provide opportunities to learn and engage in various topics; including trauma-informed care, SEL, self-care & well-being, youth activism, DEI, community schools, among others. Scott is passionate about finding the unique gifts of those around him and helping to turn these gifts into positive action.

Email: board@waialae.edu

Bernard K. Nunies, SHRM-SCP, SPHR

Bernard K. Nunies, SHRM-SCP, SPHR

Operations Committee Chair

Bernard K. Nunies, SHRM-SCP, SPHR is a seasoned business executive with over 25 years of international management experience across a variety of industries. He is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Tradewind Group with prior senior Human Resources roles in higher education, consulting, and luxury retail.   Bernard has also served as lecturer and adjunct faculty at Hawai‘i Pacific University and Leeward Community College.  He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. As a Waialae Governing School Board member, Bernard hopes to share his business and HR experience to strengthen and drive the mission, vision, and student learning outcomes of the organization.

Email: board@waialae.edu

Keʻōpū Reelitz

Keʻōpū Reelitz

Governance Committee Chair

Keʻōpū Reelitz believes every child in Hawai‘i deserves quality care and education from birth. She has spent the last several years dedicated to increasing access to and investments in early childhood care and education. Wai‘alae School Board enables her to bridge the gap from early childhood to elementary-age education and child care. Keʻōpū is currently the Director of Early Learning and Health Policy for the Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network (HCAN). Previously, she worked for the State Executive Office on Early Learning as the communications lead, as the public information officer at the State Department of Human Services, at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on self-governance initiatives and as an award-winning editor of Mana Magazine. Keʻōpū is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, Loyola University Chicago and Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. When she’s not working or volunteering with Wai‘alae, she’s likely running around literally and figuratively. She’s a mom to three young children, a wife and an avid walker, jogger and cyclist.

Email: board@waialae.edu

Koalani Lagareta

Koalani Lagareta

Education Committee

Koalani Lagareta has 18 years of experience in public education, 13 of which have been at Wai'alae Public Charter School. She is the parent of a Wai'alae School graduate and has experienced the benefits of a whole-child approach to education with her own two adult children. Koalani has worn many hats at Wai'alae throughout the years as parent, classroom teacher, cadre design team chair, grade level chair, resource teacher, curriculum coach, and now as the faculty representative on the Governing School Board. Koalani earned her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from The Evergreen State College and her Master's of Science in Education from Chaminade University. She holds multiple teaching licenses and is Montessori trained and certified. Koalani is a staunch advocate for progressive public education, particularly Hawai'i charter schools, and believes every child deserves free high-quality education that is engaging, relevant, culturally responsive, and joyful!

Email: board@waialae.edu

Star Ventura

Star Ventura

Governance Committee

Star Ventura has a passion for community building, social justice and family empowerment. She is a Registered Nurse Clinical Coordinator at Queens Emergency Department working to support best practice, performance improvement and nursing education. Star obtained a degree in Social Work from the University of Hawaiʻi, then went on to study nursing at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. She has been a member of the teaching team at Chaminade University School of Nursing as clinical adjunct faculty, as well as participating in hospital nursing ethics committees and nursing regulatory reviews. At Waiʻalae, Star has been a member of the Governance Committee and COVID Task Force. She is also a proud mom of two Waiʻalae keiki.

Email: board@waialae.edu

Committee Members

Lianna Lam
-
Operations Committee
Jordana Ferreira
-
Governance Committee
Yuliya Bentcheva
-
Operations Committee
Yao Hill
-
Education Committee

Past Committee and Board Members

A big mahalo to our past board members for their generous service and many contributions to Wai’alae School!

Andy Tomlinson
-
Operations Committee Member
Justin Levinson
-
Governance Committee Member
E. Brook Chapman de Sousa
-
Education Committee Chair
Lianna Lam
-
Governing Board Member
Tray Spilker
-
Operations Committee
Jane Dickson
-
Education Committee Member
Susan Serrano
-
Governing Board Member
Tom Hutton
-
Governance Committee Chair, Mission and Vision Integration Team
Leila Shar
-
Treasurer, Operations Committee Member
Keane Kitagawa
-
Operations Committee Member
Nikos Brown
-
Education Committee Member
Fiona Hayashi
-
Vice-Chair, Secretary
Kate Leary
-
Education Committee Member
Rod Todorovich
-
Board Chair