REV. WRYEN K. C. KĪWAHA, Councilor
The Reverend Wryen K. C. Kīwaha is the current General President of the Kealamākia Foundation.
As the Chief Executive Officer, President Kīwaha is committed to overseeing the growth and development of the organization as it begins to work towards fulfilling its new mission and objectives to provide academic and personal enrichment to the keiki (children) of the island of Hawaiʻi.
Prior to assuming the role of General President, from December 2013 to April 2014, he served as the Managing Director for the Kealamākia Transition Initiative which was created to prepare for a possible conversion from a parent-teacher organization to a public foundation; and, to effectively carry out the transition. He also served as the President and Chairman of the Board for our predecessor organization, the Hoʻokena Elementary School PTO, from July 2010 to April 2014.
In March 2015, in a special meeting, the office of President and CEO was removed from the bylaws, leaving all administrative powers to the Chairman. And, at the Annual Meeting in April 2015, Wryen was elected President and Chief Executive Officer. In December 2015, the bylaws were again amended to change “Board of Trustees” to Executive Council, and the title of “President and CEO” to General President.
During Pres. Kīwaha’s tenure as President, the organization was incorporated in 2011, obtained tax exemption at the federal and state levels, developed a greater system of financial accountability and transparency, and, raised nearly $100,000 to support Hoʻokena Elementary School – purchasing computers, securing Hawaiian education and cultural programs, enabling extracurricular enrichment, and much more.
Prior, Pres. Kīwaha also served with other organizations like the Nā ʻŌpio Youth Volunteer Corps, the West Hawaiʻi Youth Peace Committee, and, the Kids of Hawaiʻi Nei – a non-profit organization working to provide educational opportunities, create safe havens for children, and, prevent drug use and proliferation.
Born in Kealakekua, Pres. Kīwaha continues to live in his hometown of Keālia-Hoʻokena and is a product of Hoʻokena and Konawaena schools. A person of native Hawaiian and mixed-ethnic background, Pres. Kīwaha can trace his family’s lineage in the islands to 1100 A.D. Pres. Kīwaha is an avid student of Hawaiian culture, history and language; and, has composed several mele in both contemporary and traditional styles.
(1) One who steers; a helmsman; a steerer of a canoe. (2) A captain; a director; a guide through dangers or difficulties.
The Foundation informally uses Hoʻokele, or Luna Hoʻokele, as a courtesy title for General President rather than Luna Hoʻomalu, which is traditionally associated with the office of Chairperson.