Maui Business

Three Maui Leaders Graduate from “Kuleana Academy”

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Earlier this month, the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action graduated its Spring Class of “Kuleana Academy.” This is the second round of the leadership development and non-partisan candidate training program.

2017 Kuleana Academy Spring Graduation 2017. Photo Courtesy

Kuleana Academy is designed to educate and train emerging leaders in Hawai‘i who have a desire to serve in public office through a three-part education system that includes: a well-rounded introduction to critical issues in Hawai‘i; training in campaign fundamentals such as canvassing, campaign fundraising, and campaign finance reporting, as well as skills in speech and debate, media interviews, and social media; and personal leadership development.

Heather Kimball, conservation biologist and graduate from Hawai‘i Island said, “What I enjoyed most about Kuleana Academy was meeting all of these people who genuinely care for Hawai‘i and our communities. These are individuals who are willing, able and honored to accept their Kuleana. Participating in the HAPA program, and getting to know the presenters and participants has given me great hope for our future.”

The 17 graduates of the Spring 2017 Kuleana Academy include:

  • Jason Eno, Tamara Paltin, and Shane Sinenci of Maui
  • Gabriel Johnson of Lānaʻi
  • Keani Rawlins-Fernandez of Molokaʻi
  • Justin Avery and Heather Kimball of Hawaiʻi Island
  • Angela Anderson of KauaʻiWill Caron, Joshua Frost, Rebecca Gardner, Randy Aaron Gonce, Tyler Greenhill, Asami Kobayashi, Amy Perruso, Sandra Kau‘i Pratt-Aquino, and Cameron Sato of Oʻahu

“Kuleana Academy builds the capacity of emerging leaders who have a strong desire to effectively serve the public,” said Sandra (Kau‘i) Pratt-Aquino, Esq., attorney and graduate on O‘ahu. “I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about different views and build a strong and diverse network with some of Hawai‘i’s brightest leaders. This program will drive positive change in Hawai‘i.”

Shane Sinenci, youth educator and graduate from Hāna, Maui said, “I have made life-long friends and family during my Kuleana Academy experience. Hawai‘i’s leaders are sworn to its Constitution and to sit below the great seal and motto, ‘Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono! The Kuleana Academy teaches the ‘Pono’ way.”

Due to high demand for the program, HAPA will offer an additional program in Fall 2017, and is accepting applications now through July 1, 2017.


Participants will be evaluated and selected through a process that includes HAPA board members and Kuleana Academy Alliance Education Partners. Applicants will be chosen by Aug. 1, 2017, and training weekends begin in September. More information and an application is available here.

“The feedback about the Academy has been positive and enthusiastic. We are thrilled that there is enough demand from grassroots leaders who are interested in running for public office that we have been asked to offer another Academy in 2017,” said Aria Castillo, HAPA Program Manager. “Hawai‘i needs more progressive leaders who value ʻāina and people ahead of corporate profit and are willing to take action to make those changes happen in government. HAPA is excited to be able to provide this kind of critical education and development to civic-minded emerging leaders from across Hawai‘i.”

Kuleana Academy Alliance Education Partners offer support to the program in a variety of ways, including education materials, speakers, mentorship, and program resources.


For more information, visit here.

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