Office of Hawaiian Affairs interim Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Hussey on Thursday was named the agency’s next permanent CEO in a unanimous vote of the board of trustees.
Hussey, a former OHA chief operating officer, will earn $170,000 a year under a five-year contract starting Dec. 1.
An educator who previously worked as a Kamehameha Schools administrator, Hussey became interim CEO on July 1, replacing seven-year executive Kamana‘opono Crabbe.
The board hired a professional consultant to search for a new executive, but OHA Chairwoman Colette Machado said Hussey’s performance as interim leader was “amazing.”
“Each trustee feels confident that they will be treated with the same kind of aloha that she can treat me as the chair and some of the leadership, and that’s important when you want to build unity,” Machado said.
In an interview, Hussey said she is already working on the agency’s 15-year strategic plan for improving education, health, housing and economic development. A challenge ahead will be to boost OHA’s image, she said.
“The agency is committed to doing good for our lahui (nation), but there have been, historically, things that have distracted from that intent,” she said.
Hussey, a certified public accountant, was hired as COO in November 2018 after more than 30 years in education administration, policy development, finance, operations and information technology. She previously served as executive director of the Native Hawaiian Education Council and before that as vice president of administration with Kamehameha Schools.
This year Hussey was reappointed by the state Board of Education as a commissioner of the State Public Charter School Commission.
Born and raised in Kohala, Hawaii island, Hussey currently lives in Kaneohe with her husband, Brian.