President Jim Scott Announces Intent to Retire

May 2, 2017

Dr. James Kapae‘alii Scott announced today his intention to retire as president of Punahou School at the end of the 2018 – 2019 school year. “It is with deep gratitude to Punahou School for my experience over the past 23 years,” said Scott, anticipating completing a 25-year tenure in 2019.

As the first alumnus president in over a hundred years and first of Native Hawaiian ancestry, Scott, who graduated from Punahou in 1970, opened the school year in August 1994 as the school’s 16th president. His tenure has been marked by a passionate commitment to ensuring financial access to a Punahou education, to building private/public partnerships to benefit the local and national educational landscape, and to continually advance Punahou as a leading learning environment for students and faculty.

Kitty Sullivan Wo, chair of Punahou’s Board of Trustees, addressed faculty and staff, parents and alumni, “I wish to extend our deepest gratitude to Jim for his bold vision and educational thought leadership. The school is in the strongest position it has ever been.” Wo spoke to the Board’s responsibility to ensure strong leadership for Punahou and advised that this long lead time to search for Punahou’s next president “will allow us to be thoughtful and inclusive. The Board is preparing for the work ahead with the goal of a smooth transition. Our priority will be to find a strong leader who can build on Jim’s legacy and deep aloha for our ‘ohana.” A timeline and plans will be shared during the summer.

In a meeting with faculty and staff, Scott spoke of his commitment to current projects over the next two years, and affirmed that he will remain fully engaged in this important work. Wo reiterated that “the Board of Trustees is completely committed to supporting Jim’s priorities for Punahou.”

Punahou has a history of continuity in its leadership. The two previous presidents, Rod McPhee and John Fox, served 26 and 24 years respectively. As Scott completes a 25-year term, the school will have had only 3 presidents since 1944.