Waianae’s Kamaile Academy speaks out against Hookakoo Corporation ‘incompetence’

Hawaii Independent Staff

WAIANAE—Since the firing of Kamaile Academy’s CEO and principal earlier this month, the mood on campus has been “like somebody died,” said Calveena Gomez, a parent and teacher at the charter school in Waianae.

Gomez said that she had been trying for weeks to make counseling services available to her students and other staff without a response. She said the delay is another example of “incompetence” and a neglect for children’s needs by the charter school’s overseeing board.

Kamaile Academy is overseen by the Ho’okako’o Corporation, a private non-profit organization established in 2002 to improve the quality of education offered to Hawaii’s children through conversion charter schools.

Last week, parents, students, and teachers berated members of Ho’okako’o Corporation’s board for the November 9 firing of the school’s CEO Glenn Kila and president Clarence DeLude. Community members defended the work of Kila and DeLude and said the firings were a misplaced attempt at following protocols in replacing leadership in order to receive federal money.

Gomez referred to last week’s tragic suicide of a Kahuku High School football player in order to express how important it is for Hawaii’s students to have counseling ready and available to them.

“We’re kind of upset and concerned, and because of their incompetency ... we want better leadership that’s gonna take care of our children the way we see fit to take care of our children,” Gomez said.

Gomez and other parents and teachers said the recent firings of Kila and DeLude has had an immediate and lasting affect on the school’s performance. The community is calling for a change in the way Kamaile Academy is overseen, including the revocation of Ho’okako’o Corporation’s charter.

“If [Ho’okako’o Corporation’s] so concerned about improvements at our school, why do they step in when we’re already on the right track,” said parent Michell Branigan. “Our kids are already making good improvement, awesome improvement. We’re already on our way. They come in and they block that path and they’re setting our kids back. For money.”