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David John Nāwaʻakauluaokamehameha Napoleon (Nāwaʻa) has been appointed as the next vice chancellor for academic affairs of Kapiʻolani Community College, effective May 1, 2023.

Napoleon currently serves as the dean of arts and sciences at Kapiʻolani CC, leading a unit with more than 150 faculty and staff within the areas of languages, linguistics, literature, social sciences, math, sciences, arts and humanities, and the Maida Kamber Center (for career exploration, transfer and graduation services). He has served as an educator, administrator and leader at Kapiʻolani CC for the past 33 years.

“I started as a lecturer in Hawaiian language here at Kapiʻolani Community College when I turned 21 years old and I have truly been raised by the College’s community, Kalāhū and the Kona moku (district) of Oʻahu,” said Napoleon. “I appreciate the opportunities that the students, staff, faculty, fellow administrators and Kalāhū have provided for me to learn, teach and grow. As we look to the future, I am excited to continue working with the campus to carry on our mission and values.”

“I am delighted that Nāwaʻa Napoleon has accepted the position to be our next vice chancellor of academic affairs,” said Kapiʻolani CC Chancellor Misaki Takabayashi. “Nāwaʻa has a multitude of qualifications and experiences in Native Hawaiian epistemology and education including hula (dance), ʻōlelo (language), haku mele (composing), oli (chant), hoe waʻa (Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling), in addition to the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Hawaiian Studies. He has elegantly integrated the leadership skills developed in all of his experiences to support the students, staff, faculty and administrators at Kapiʻolani Community College. He is a trusted leader who will be immeasurably valuable as we navigate through the new phase of our growth as a campus.”

Napoleon has also served as the department chair for languages, linguistics and literature and taught Hawaiian language as a faculty member for a combination of more than 20 years. As dean of arts and sciences, he manages a budget of over $9 million and serves as the principal investigator on three U.S. Department of Education Title IIIgrants that total more than $7 million.

He holds a master of arts in Hawaiian studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and a bachelor of arts in Hawaiian studies from UH Hilo.

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