Finalists named for 3 seats on UH Board of Regents, including 3 nominees on Maui
The Candidate Advisory Council for the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents has presented a list of candidates to Gov. Josh Green to fill one Maui County seat, one Honolulu County seat, and one Hawaiʻi County seat for 5-year appointments beginning July 1, 2023, subject to confirmation by the Hawaiʻi State Senate.
The finalists for the Maui County seat include: Lauren Akitake, a private practice attorney and per diem District Court Judge who taught business law at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College; Sheri Daniels Chief Executive Officer at Papa Ola Lōkahi; and Beverly Stanich, retired longtime principal of Wailuku Elementary School on Maui.
Maui biographies drafted by the candidates as outlined in a Candidate Advisory Council letter to the governor are included below:
Born and raised on Maui, Lauren Akitake is a private practice attorney and per diem District Court Judge who taught Business Law at the University of Hawaii Maui College. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law. She also obtained a Master of Science degree in Applied Social Research from the University of Stirling, Scotland, while on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy Analysis/Politics from Pomona College in California. She graduated as a Valedictorian from Baldwin High School class of 1999.
Ms. Akitake has over 15 years of experience in diverse areas of law, including estate planning, probate and trust litigation, estate and trust administration, civil litigation, business law, collection law, and representing clients in conservatorship and guardianship proceedings. Prior to starting her law office six years ago, Ms. Akitake practiced in state and federal courts for law firms on Oahu and Maui, served as a law clerk for the Honorable Shackley F. Raffetto, completed the Elder Law Clinical Program at the University of Kansas School of Law, and interned with the office of the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye.
Ms. Akitake is a 2020 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow, 2020 Hawaii State Bar Association Leadership Institute Fellow, and 2016 Hawaii Emerging Legal Practitioners Access to Justice Fellow. She taught Business Law at the University of Hawaii Maui College from 2015-2021 and is a former Maui County Bar Association board member. Ms. Akitake is a 2022-2024 elected parent representative to the Pomaikai Elementary School Community Council and is a current board member of Women Helping Women and member and co-President nominee of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Maui.
In 2022, Ms. Akitake was awarded an AAUW Career and Leadership Development Grant, which funded her attendance at a National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) Women in Law trial training in Seattle, Washington.
Ms. Akitake has been appointed by Maui Circuit Court Judges as Kokua Kanawai (a special master) in contested guardianship and conservatorship cases and Special Administrator in contested probate/estate cases.
Appointed in November 2021 and retained in November 2022, Ms. Akitake is a per diem District Court Judge for the Second Circuit Court, State of Hawaii. She has been sitting for criminal, traffic, environmental court, landlord-tenant, small claims, regular claims, civil temporary restraining order, and preliminary hearing calendars in Wailuku, Lahaina, and Lanai. She also reviews judicial determination of probable cause and information charging documents, and meets with Maui Police Department detectives to review and approve search warrants. Recently she had the honor of presiding on Community Outreach Court, which is held at the Kihei Public Library.
Having played tennis for Pomona College and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Ms. Akitake is also a 1998 Hawaii High School Athletics Association tennis doubles champion. She enjoys working out, running, swimming, and spending time with her sons – Scott and Evan, 11 and 9.
Sheri Daniels, EdD, CSAC
Sheri has been leading Papa Ola Lōkahi, the Native Hawaiian Health Board since 2016. Papa Ola Lōkahi (POL) is the organization charged by the United States Congress with administrative oversight of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act [Public Law 102-396]. In this role, she leads efforts to improve the overall health and well-being of Native Hawaiians and their families, through strategic partnerships, programs and public policy.
Born, raised, and currently residing on Maui, she has close to three decades of experience in social service programs along with years of supervisory experience, including both government and non-profit management. It is through these capacities that Dr. Daniels has worked closely with Hawai‘i’s unique and diverse population to overcome inequities.
Sheri is actively involved in various community and civic organizations locally, nationally and internationally. In 2019, Dr. Daniels was added to both the Advisory Council on Minority Health (Office on Minority Health). She is one of the co-leads for the Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Hawaiʻi COVID19 Response, Recovery, Resilience Team that involves over 60 organizations throughout Hawaiʻi that is focused on addressing the needs and advocating for these communities.
A graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, Dr. Daniels received her bachelor’s in family resources from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She carries a master’s in counseling psychology from Chaminade University of Honolulu, in addition to a doctorate from Argosy University, and currently holds several license certifications.
Beverly Kehaulani (Sylvester) Stanich is a professional educator and administrator with extensive experiences with children and youth from birth through graduation from high school. Her perspective provides her with unique insight into what is required to create and support an optimal educational environment for youth entering the workforce, our community colleges and university.
She was born and raised in Kailua, O’ahu and moved to Maui over forty years ago to accept a teaching position with the Department of Education. She settled in Wailuku and raised her family. She has three sons, all graduates of the University of Hawai’I at Manoa; all of them now living on O’ahu. As a teacher, she worked in elementary, middle school and high school settings on both islands: Hawai’i State Hospital (Adolescent Ward), Kailua Elementary, Kailua Intermediate, and Maui High School. She also taught at Maui Community College for one summer with the Upward Bound Program for high school students from Maui, Moloka’I and Lana’i transitioning into college. She has worked as a Hawaiian Studies Resource Teacher for Maui District, recruiting, training and supervising kupuna and makua of Maui Nui as they taught in kindergarten to Grade 6. Based on the encouragement of a Vice Principal at the high school while she was teaching, she applied to and was selected to enter the School Administrator’s Certification Program, taking classes at the University of Hawai’i in the Educational Administration Dept. while continuing to teach. Upon completion of these requirements, she was selected as a Vice Principal at Hana High and Elementary, followed by Kahului School, and was then promoted to become the Principal at Lahaina Intermediate, followed by Wailuku Elementary from which she retired in 2019 after 26 years. In 2021, she found an opportunity to work with a Hawaiian nonprofit agency, Keiki O Ka ‘Aina, serving families with children from birth to age 5. Her position involved reaching out into the community to agencies to connect at- risk families with resources, and to partner them with Home Visiting professionals who met with them weekly. She appreciated the intensive training received in early childhood development and the cultural professional development re: trauma informed care and the long-lasting impact of trauma into adulthood, particularly for our Native Hawaiian population. After a year in this fulltime position, she needed to assist her siblings as a caregiver for her mother on O’ahu on weekends, so she resigned from this job. After her mother’s passing, she was able to return to work part-time with the Dept. of Education and is presently working as a Maui District Coordinator for the After School (A+) programs in elementary schools across Maui.
She has volunteered and served in civic and community organizations on Maui and currently is on the Maui County Commission on Persons with Disabilities which acts in an advisory capacity to Mayor Bissen. As a long-time resident of Maui County, she is involved in shaping the future of her community in a productive, positive way in areas that she has personal and professional experiences in.
Finalists for the Honolulu and Hawaiʻi County seats are included below:
Honolulu County seat
- Neil Abercrombie
- Keith Amemiya
- Matthew Matsunaga
- Mary Oneha
- Wai‘ale‘ale Sarsona
Hawaiʻi County seat
- Michael Miyahira
- Kona Moran
- Alapaki Nahale-a
- Steven Pavao
Finalist biographies are available at www.hawaii.edu/rcac
Members of the University of Hawai’i Candidate Advisory Council include:
- Brigitte Yoshino, Chair
- Lance Wilhelm, Vice Chair
- Blair Odo, Secretary
- Amy Agbayani, Member
- Amy Hennessey, Member
- Brandon Marc Higa, Member
- Dale Nishikawa, Member
The CAC began accepting applications to fill these vacancies in the fall by contacting and encouraging government, business, and community leaders to nominate candidates. The council also placed print advertisements encouraging applications. All applications were thoroughly and comprehensively reviewed and screened by all CAC members.
The Candidate Advisory Committee is statutorily responsible for conducting recruitment efforts, accepting and screening applications, interviewing candidates and submitting to the governor the names of nominees willing to serve as regents of the University of Hawaiʻi System, which is a voluntary non-compensated public appointment.
Candidate lists are compiled after a comprehensive review and selection process, which is solely and exclusively merit-based and according to procedures set forth in state statutes and the council’s administrative rules.
“The Candidate Advisory Council members thank all the individuals who applied for these seats on the Board of Regents. We are pleased to submit these names for consideration to the governor,” said Chair Brigitte Yoshino.
The Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Hawai‘i and consists of 11 members. Representation includes five from the City and County of Honolulu; two from Hawaiʻi County; two from Maui County; one from Kauaʻi County; and one (1) University of Hawaiʻi student.
Members of the CAC serve voluntarily and are not paid.