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Education a top priority for Kamehameha trustee


The next Kamehameha Schools trustee hopes her experiences growing up outside Hawaii will bring a different perspective to the board.

A state probate judge approved the appointment earlier this month of Janeen-Ann Olds to the board of trustees of the $7.8 billion trust. The appointment, effective Feb. 1, is for five years. Olds will replace trustee Nainoa Thompson, whose term ends Jan. 31.

Olds, 47, grew up in different parts of the mainland while her father pursued his career as a U.S. infantry officer. But no matter where her father’s career took the family, including Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, Olds said, her parents maintained local traditions.

"I didn’t know people on the mainland didn’t eat rice every day until I went to college," she said.

Her family returned to the islands in 1978.

Olds worked for 20 years in the Honolulu law firm Kobayashi Sugita & Goda, specializing in corporate and real estate law. She left in 2008 as co-managing partner.

Since 2008 she has been general counsel for telecommunications company Waimana Enterprises.

She said she applied to become a trustee to give back to the community and to continue the vision of Princess Pauahi Bishop to provide educational opportunities for Hawaiian children, especially those of Hawaiian blood.

"When you look at the challenges facing native Hawaiians, everything comes back to education," she said.

Bishop, great-granddaughter of Kamehameha I, established Kamehameha Schools in 1883 in her will.

Olds did not directly benefit from the educational opportunities afforded by the trust, but her sister and other relatives attended Kamehameha Schools and her two sons currently attend.


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