Ka Wai Ola

Photo: Sylvia Hussey

On November 21, 2019, the OHA Board of Trustees appointed Sylvia Hussey, Ed.D., as the agency’s new Ka Pouhana/Chief Executive Officer, who is the Board’s sole employee, responsible for implementing Board policies and directives and leading the agency’s 145 administrative employees. Under the terms of her contract, Dr. Hussey will earn an initial salary of $170,000 for a term of five years commencing on December 1, 2019.

“This is a critical moment in the forty-year history of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs,” said OHA Chair Colette Machado. “The Board and administration have been collaborating on a number of critical projects that will transition OHA into a new chapter of the agency’s moʻolelo. Among these projects are our new strategic plan that will set OHA’s course for the next 15 years, as well as initiatives focused on improving the agency’s fiscal and governance policies. Dr. Hussey’s professionalism, executive experience and collaborative nature are precisely what we need to help lead OHA through this transition.”

Dr. Hussey served as the interim OHA CEO since July 1, 2019, after Dr. Kamanaʻopono Crabbe’s contract expired, bringing his seven-year tenure as OHA Ka Pouhana/CEO to a close. Dr. Hussey had previously served as OHA’s Ka Pou Nui/Chief Operating Officer. Her selection as CEO was the result of a three-month search led by Kumabe HR, a local executive recruitment firm.

“I am humbled to be granted this opportunity to continue this important work at OHA on behalf of the Lāhui,” said Dr. Hussey. “I look forward to strengthening our ʻohana, our moʻomeheu (culture) and our ʻāina. These are the foundations of the Native Hawaiian community, and we must make sure that these foundations are front and center in all of our decision-making here at OHA.”

Dr. Hussey brings more than 30 years of experience in education administration, policy development and implementation, finance, operations, and information technology. She served in leadership positions at various institutions throughout the state, most recently as the executive director of the Native Hawaiian Education Council (NHEC), and previously was with Kamehameha Schools for more than a decade where she was the vice president of administration.

Dr. Hussey is also a certified public accountant (not in public practice) and previously worked as a director at Candon Consulting Group, senior manager at KPMG Consulting, and finance director at the Honolulu Board of Realtors. In 2019, Dr. Hussey was re-appointed by the Board of Education to serve as a commissioner of the State Public Charter School Commission.

Dr. Hussey received a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Brigham Young University, and has a master’s degree in Education Foundations and doctorate of education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She is currently a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Educational Research Association, the American Evaluation Association, and their state counterparts, among other affiliations.

“I am humbled to join the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and to continue working toward empowering Native Hawaiians,” said Dr. Hussey. “I look forward to working together to inspire positive change and strengthen our families and communities.”

Dr. Hussey was born and raised in Kohala and currently lives in Kāneʻohe with her husband Brian.