Three veteran administrators – Senior Director of Human Resources Pauline Lo ’71 Bailey, Director of Admission and Financial Aid Betsy Hata and Junior School Principal Paris Priore-Kim ’76 – have retired from Punahou after decades of devoted leadership at the School.
“They will all be greatly missed, and they each leave legacies of distinction and extraordinary care for students, families, colleagues and friends across the School,” President Mike Latham ’86 said.
While Punahou has initiated a search to fill Bailey’s role, Todd Chow-Hoy, formerly a Junior School assistant principal, will serve as Junior School principal, and Maile Uohara was hired as Punahou’s new director of Enrollment Management and Admissions.
Pauline Lo ’71 Bailey
Bailey began her career at Punahou in 1998, after working in leadership roles for various companies, universities and nonprofits in Texas, California, Washington D.C. and Australia. She also danced professionally – a passion that began while she was a student at Punahou. “My career at Punahou, in many ways, represents my hopes and dreams for the future,” Bailey said. “It has been the means by which I could strive for excellence in my profession, while also allowing me to care for my family. Being engaged and present in the life of the School meant that I was also engaged and present in the School’s aspirations for its students, and their engagement and presence would, in turn, benefit the community at large.”
While at Punahou, Bailey built a modern human resources function from the ground up, implemented an integrated total health and wellness program, and most recently, made fundamental contributions to improve student safety and security. For 20 years, Bailey also led the School’s Co-curricular Programs, a responsibility she considered a highlight of her career. As director of Co-curricular Programs, she supported and enhanced Punahou’s curricular offerings, strengthened alumni support and affiliation, and created projects to highlight student and community learning.
“I am grateful that I have played a role, both small and large, in every employee that has been hired at Punahou since I started work at the School,” Bailey said. “I am grateful that I had the opportunity to influence the vision of what the human resources function at both Punahou and at schools nationally can be. And I am proud of how disparate programs that are now considered extended learning, came together, forged a strong K – 12 culture and identity, and thrived to create meaningful, memorable and magical opportunities for students at Punahou School and beyond. Mostly, I am grateful to have played a part in the trials, tribulations and triumphs of all of my colleagues and fellow employees.”
Since 2004, Hata has served as director of Admission and Financial Aid, skillfully guiding the entrance to Punahou for generations of students and enabling countless numbers of them to attend the School with financial aid.
Before her 17-year tenure as director, Hata served as the department’s associate director for six years. Prior to working in Admission full time, she spent 19 years as an elementary teacher and part-time Admission counselor at the School. Her time at Punahou began in 1979, after 12 years as a teacher at Kamehameha School and outside Hawai‘i.
“I have a great staff, and I tell them all the time, ‘thank you’ for allowing me to do this job with pleasure,” Hata said. “I love this School and its students. The fact that we can develop these wonderful people, who are trained for the 21st century, makes me proud to have admitted them.”
During Hata’s time leading the Admission department, Punahou has always enjoyed steady and high enrollment. Financial aid also increased significantly, allowing for greater diversity and providing opportunities to students who might not otherwise have been able to attend. “Financial aid is something I really support,” Hata said. “And I loved making Punahou affordable for so many families.”
In 2014, at the annual Secondary School Admission Test Board conference (now called the Enrollment Management Association), Hata was presented the prestigious Everett Gourley Award for serving as an inspiration to students and colleagues. She said she’s grateful for the professional development Punahou has offered its faculty, administrators and staff, which allowed her to attend conferences each year to connect with other admission and financial aid leaders around the world.
Paris Priore-Kim ’76
In every teaching and leadership position she’s had at Punahou, Paris Priore-Kim ’76 has been an inspirational, bright force among her colleagues and students. “It was an uncommon trajectory that has given me a global view of the incredible humans that make up our community,” she says.
Since 2015, Priore-Kim has led the Junior School, enhancing the literacy and mathematics curriculum, while emphasizing students’ social and emotional learning. She also helped usher in the new Kosasa Community and led the Junior School with steadfast leadership during the pandemic.
These achievements are part of her 25-year legacy at Punahou, which began when she worked as a substitute teacher in third and eighth grades. She then taught Middle School social studies, served as assistant director for the Luke Center and became an Academy dean.
“Paris has had an impact across the entire School in a way that few people ever do,” President Mike Latham ’86 said. “Along the way, she advanced our curriculum in literacy and math, and deepened our understanding of the key role that emotional intelligence plays in learning. What I most
admire, however, is her overriding sense of compassion and concern for the growth and care of every student and teacher. She listens thoughtfully, reflects carefully, and has built a tremendous team. I’m going to miss Paris, and I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to work alongside her and to learn from her.”
While Priore-Kim said her colleagues have been “monumental sources of joy and strength,” her co-workers said they will always be grateful for what she offered them.
“What I love most about Paris is how effortlessly she puts people at ease. Everyone who has met her feels an instant disarming warmth that endures,” Academy Principal Emily McCarren said. “And she is able to leverage that warmth to get really hard collaborative work done. She could do anything, and Punahou is so fortunate she chose to spend so much of her time, her magical, precious time, here with us.”
As Punahou’s new Director of Enrollment Management and Admissions, Maile Uohara steps into a pivotal, public role focused on stewarding prospective students and families through the application, admission and retention process. The Maui native began her tenure on July 19, filling the role long served by retired Director of Admission and Financial Aid Betsy Hata.
Uohara previously held the role of Chief of Enrollment Management and Variable Tuition at the Silicon Valley International School (INTL) in Palo Alto, California, overseeing the preschool – grade 12 admissions, financial aid and enrollment strategies. An expert in the areas of recruitment, student retention and data analysis, she also was president and a founding board member of the Bay Area Directors of Admission, a consortium of over 110 independent schools, in addition to serving on the Admissions Leadership Council for the Enrollment Management Association, a national association focused on the professional development of and support for enrollment managers.
“I have a sense of the different perspectives across the country, and I’ll be bringing that to my work in Hawai‘i and at Punahou,” she said.
After Uohara’s hiring was announced, many wanted to know what “enrollment management” encompassed, and why the title was changed. Uohara says as director of Enrollment Management and Admissions, she will focus on strategic and data-driven initiatives related to recruitment, admissions, financial aid, marketing and retention.
“In today’s marketplace, educational institutions must be strategic in how they recruit, enroll and retain students and families,” she said. “As Punahou evolves and advances, it is important that enrollment goals are aligned with the mission and vision of the School.”
Enrollment management is a highly data-driven process, she added. She plans to work closely with Punahou’s Senior Leadership Group to research and analyze data that affect enrollment. Yet, Uohara doesn’t expect to roll out sweeping changes right away. She sees the process as more of an
evolution, and she respects Hata’s role in laying a solid, longstanding foundation that has consistently drawn highly qualified students to Punahou. “I want to honor a lot of the work that she’s already done,” she said.
As far as whether the criteria for admission to Punahou will change under her leadership, Uohara says before implementing any changes, she will have conversations with various Punahou constituents and conduct a lot of research. “I need to understand what’s happening within the School and
curriculum to know the types of students who could thrive within a Punahou education. It is also imperative to understand the short and long-term strategic enrollment goals of the institution. Once I have my listening ears on, I can understand the needs, and from there, we can build changes together.”
Uohara said she was drawn to the job because it allows her to apply her extensive experience in enrollment management in her home state. Personally, she was also looking to move home to be closer to family. Her immediate family lives in Maui, and her husband’s family is in Kaua‘i. They also have relatives on O‘ahu.
During the search process, Uohara also had the opportunity to hear Punahou President Mike Latham ’86 speak about his vision for Punahou. “He spoke about the educational needs of today and for the next generation of students, and honestly, it was what I’ve been saying for the last 10 years,” she said. “He spoke of not just teaching math, for instance, but teaching students to think like mathematicians, and giving them a framework to engage deeply with the world around them. I want to work for an institution whose mission aligns with my own and to know that I’m working alongside individuals that have a shared vision. I’m excited to be joining the Punahou Community and am looking forward to meeting and engaging with Punahou’s families.”