The leadership of the School nurtures a school climate that supports a culture of inquiry, and has shaped an educational program for Punahou's 3,700 students that promotes process over product, seeks questions more than answers, and strives to develop the imaginative, ethical, global citizens that will have impact in the world for decades to come.



Dr. James Kapae`alii Scott '70
President, 1994 – Present

The president, with the Board of Trustees, has the responsibility for oversight of all aspects of student life and school operations. The president also heads the Administrative Leadership Team.

See speeches and other remarks From the President

About President Scott

James Kapae`alii Scott was born in Honolulu and graduated from Punahou School in 1970. He received an A.B. in political science from Stanford University before joining the Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, Calif. as a history teacher and baseball coach. He later served as academic dean, while earning an M.A. in Private School Leadership at the University of San Francisco. In 1983, he entered Harvard University, receiving a master's degree and doctorate in Administration, Planning and Social Policy. While working toward his degrees, Scott was the headmaster at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon. In 1994, he returned to Hawai`i to become the 16th president of Punahou School.

Scott is actively engaged in leadership roles at the local and national levels, having served as a trustee of The College Board and chair of the Secondary School Admission Test Board from June 2006 – 2008. He is a director of Hawaiian Electric Industries, a trustee of the Barstow Foundation, and chair of The Klingenstein Center Advisory Board at Teachers College, Columbia University. Scott is also president of Country Day School Headmasters’ Association of the U.S.and a member of the National Association of Independent Schools Board of Trustees. In 2017, he was appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Governors of the East-West Center.

Scott has been a featured speaker at several national conferences and symposia. In 2009, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII recognized Scott with its inaugural Chief Executive Leadership Award for Independent Schools. The National Association of Independent Schools in 2011 honored Scott with the prestigious Diversity Leadership Award.

Under Scott’s leadership, Punahou School has achieved notable milestones, including recognition as an Apple Distinguished School; being named top Green School in America in 2006; and receiving the title of No. 1 high school athletics program in 2008 and 2009 from Sports Illustrated magazine. In 2010, Punahou initiated a partnership with three U.S. and four China schools to launch the Student Global Leadership Institute, which seeks to build an international cohort of student leaders committed to positive social change. Today, the high school program hosts 23 schools from nine countries and the middle school program includes seven schools from five countries. A partner school in India offers the SGLI program in Hyderabad, India.

A hallmark of Scott's leadership at Punahou has been a deep commitment to increasing access to a Punahou education through a vigorous financial aid program. He has been an ardent champion of the public purpose of independent schools, creating a thriving environment for community initiatives at Punahou. In addition to the many professional development opportunities the school makes available to teachers throughout the state of Hawai`i, the Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO program deepens Punahou’s public purpose by encouraging college readiness among public school students with economic need. PUEO was recognized with a 2010 CollegeKeys Compact Innovation Award from the College Board as a model program for helping low-income students prepare for college.

Administrative Leadership Team

The Administrative Leadership Team is comprised of instructional leaders responsible for the major curricular divisions of the school, and the chief administrative officers of the school.

While organized into specialized units, the culture of the school favors consensus decision-making and the distribution of responsibility. It is a system that encourages cooperation and a strong sense of community, inclusion and a focus on learning. Administrators also work directly with the Board of Trustees to develop the school's long-range plan.

  • Dr. Emily McCarren

    Academy Principal
  • Dr. Paris Priore-Kim ’76

    Junior School Principal
  • Dr. Todd Chow-Hoy

    Junior School Assistant Principal
  • Paula G. Hodges

    Academy Assistant Principal
  • James Kakos

    Academy Assistant Principal
  • Dr. Chase Mitsuda ’98

    Junior School Assistant Principal
  • John Field ’72

    Vice President, Treasurer
  • Kathryn A. Nelson

    Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • Noelehua Lyons ’91 Archambault

    Senior Director of Development
  • Pauline Lo ’71 Bailey

    Director of Human Resources and Co-curricular Programs
  • Betsy Hata

    Director of Admission and Financial Aid
  • Laurel Bowers ’71 Husain

    Director of Communications
  • Jim LaClair

    Chief Information Officer
  • Anna Liem ’93

    Director of Professional Programs
  • John Randall Overton ’80

    Director of Physical Plant
  • Chai Reddy

    Director of Wo International Center
  • Audrey Seki

    Executive Assistant to the President, Secretary to ALT