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On the Horizon at UH West O‘ahu


Zoom: Online


Thursday, October 28, 2021 at 11:00am - 12:00pm


Join Chancellor Maenette Benham for an On the Horizon series webinar focusing on the power of education and the importance of ‘āina-based learning.

Dr. Maenette K. P. Ah Nee-Benham
Chancellor, UH West O‘ahu

Dr. Kamuela Yong
Associate Professor of Mathematics, UH West Oʻahu

Dr. Cathy Kanoelani Ikeda
Director, Hoʻopūliko Kumu Hou Education Pathway Project;
Associate Professor of Middle/Secondary Teacher Preparation, UH West Oʻahu

Naturalee ‘Ilima Puou
Alumna, UH West O‘ahu
English Language Arts Teacher, Nānākuli High and Intermediate School

Meeting ID and password will be emailed upon registration. Questions for the speakers can be submitted on the registration page.

About the On the Horizon series: The On the Horizon series aims to showcase programmatic endeavors, campus goals, and opportunities for support at UH’s 10 dynamic campuses.

Questions? Please contact the UH Office of Alumni Relations at contact@uhalumni.org.

About the speakers

Maenette K. P. Ah Nee-Benham began serving as University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu chancellor on January 1, 2017. A kānaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) scholar and teacher, Benham previously served as the inaugural dean of the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at UH Mānoa.

A Kamehameha Schools graduate, Benham began her teaching career in 1978 teaching grades K–12 in California, Texas and Hawaiʻi (Kaiser High School and Kamehameha Schools). She earned her doctoral degree from UH Mānoa in 1992 and joined the College of Education faculty at Michigan State University in 1993. Among her notable accomplishments, Benham was the lead author of the White House Paper on the Tribal Colleges and Universities a Trust Responsibility (2004) submitted to the U.S. President’s Advisory Board on Tribal Colleges and Universities.

Benham’s work on alternative frames of leadership and issues of education is nationally and internationally respected. She has been an invited speaker and presenter in Europe and South East Asia and the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education. She covers a range of topics from program planning and assessment/evaluation, school change, leadership development, building school-community partnerships and professional ethics.

Benham is dedicated to community service, working extensively with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on youth, education, and community collective leadership initiatives. She serves on community boards that include the Waiʻanae Community Redevelopment Corp./MAʻO, the Mānoa Heritage and Kūaliʻi Foundation, The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, the Queen’s Health Systems and Queen’s Medical Center, the North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, Awaiaulu and the Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation.

Kamuela Yong is an associate professor of mathematics and has been with UH West Oʻahu since 2015. He is the first Native Hawaiian to earn a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. Dr. Yong is working on ways to increase participation in mathematics and to make it more accessible, including adding traditional Hawaiian knowledge into his curriculum. His research interests include creating mathematical models to describe ecological and epidemiological processes.

Dr. Yong is the 2019 recipient of the Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the 2020 recipient of the University of Hawaiʻi Regents' Medal for Excellence in Teaching.

Cathy Kanoelani Ikeda is the director of the Hoʻopūliko Kumu Hou Education Pathway Project and an Associate Professor of Middle/Secondary teacher preparation at UH West Oʻahu. She started in the fall of 2015 after 23 years as a middle and secondary English teacher, literacy specialist and teacher evaluator in both public and private schools (Hilo High School and Kamehameha Hawaiʻi).

A Kamehameha Schools graduate, she earned her doctoral degree from UH Mānoa in 2014. Her dissertation on Hawaiian culture based education professional development practices led her to UH West Oʻahu where she had the opportunity to build a middle/secondary teacher preparation program that has a foundation in moʻokūʻauhau,( genealogic ties to land and community), moʻolelo (lineage of stories), and moʻopuna (preparing for the generations to follow).

Naturalee Puou is a first-year English language arts teacher at Nānākuli High and Intermediate School where she graduated in 2006. Born and raised for the Waiʻanae moku, she is the youngest and first in her ʻohana to graduate from college. She completed her teacher education at UH West Oʻahu in 2018, and graduated with her degrees in secondary education and humanities.

Naturalee’s passion for teaching in her community is fueled by the underrepresentation of certified kanaka maoli teachers in Hawaiʻi’s public school classrooms. Her teaching identity and approach to education is heavily influenced by values rooted in social justice, youth empowerment, and culture. She brings with her to the classroom a deep love for Hawaiian kaʻao (legends), moʻolelo (myths, literature), oli (chants) and hula (oli set to motions) as a means of giving many of her students their first exposure to English language arts from a localized, “Hawaiian” perspective.

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